New diesel and petrol cars banned from UK roads by 2040
Diesel drivers on congested roads in towns and cities across the UK face new pollution taxes under Government plans which will ultimately herald the end of the traditional car.
Ministers have identified 81 major roads in 17 towns and cities where urgent action is required because they are in breach of EU emissions standards, putting people’s health at risk. The Government will also commit to banning the sale of all new diesel and petrol cars by 2040 in a bid to encourage people to switch to electric and hybrid vehicles.The air quality strategy urges local authorities to first try to reduce emissions by retrofitting the most polluting diesel vehicles, changing road layouts and removing speed humps.
However, it concedes that as a last resort councils will be allowed to impose tough restrictions on the most polluting diesel vehicles as soon as 2020 to bring down the levels of harmful nitrogen dioxide emissions.
The strategy stops short of meeting the demands of motoring groups for a diesel scrappage scheme, under which diesel drivers would receive compensation for trading in their polluting vehicles.
It instead says that the Government will hold a consultation on a “possible” scrappage scheme in the autumn, which sources have suggested is likely to be “very, very targeted”.
The strategy will insist that any restrictions on diesel cars must be “time limited” and lifted as soon as air pollution levels fall within legal limits.
A Government spokesman said: “Our plan to deal with dirty diesels will help councils clean up emissions hotspots – often a single road – through common sense measures which do not unfairly penalise ordinary working people.
”Overall we are investing £3bn to tackle the effects of roadside pollution and supporting greener transport initiatives.”
The Government has been forced to come up with tougher measures to target diesel drivers after losing a case against environmental campaigners ClientEarth over breaches of EU emissions standards.
Instead of pollution taxes, councils will be urged to improve the flow of traffic with measures such as removing speed humps to prevent cars repeatedly slowing down and speeding up, which almost doubles the amount of harmful gasses they pump out.
Other options which are expected to be put forward include better sequencing of traffic lights to ensure that drivers will keep arriving at green lights rather than red ones if they drive within the speed limit. Ministers will provide an extra £255million to help councils implement their plans, which could come into force as soon as 2020.
The number of diesel vehicles on Britain’s roads has risen from 3.2 million in 2000 to more than 10 million today after the Labour Government slashed fuel duty on diesel cars in a drive to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. It has since emerged that diesel vehicles emit harmful nitrogen dioxide, which can raise the risk of strokes, heart attacks and asthma attacks. Senior Labour figures including Sir David King, who served as Tony Blair’s chief scientific adviser, have since admitted that they were “wrong” to promote diesel cars.
Other proposals are expected to include “real driving emissions” vehicle tests in the wake of the Volkswagen emission scandal and encouraging the public sector to buy cleaner vehicles.
Ministers also want to crackdown on parents who leave their engine running during the school run. Councils have introduced on the spot fines of up to £80 in a bid to crackdown on the practice.