The UK Government confirmed that it will end the sale of all new conventional petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2040, as it unveiled new plans to tackle air pollution.
Yesterday’s announcement is focused on delivering nitrogen dioxide (NO2) compliance at the roadside in the shortest amount of time.
“This is one part of our programme to deliver clean air – next year the Government will publish a comprehensive Clean Air Strategy which will address other sources of air pollution,” the government said in a statement.
The UK government said will help towns and cities by providing GBP255 million (USD332 million) to implement their plans, in addition to the GBP2.7 billion (USD3.5 billion it is already investing. The biggest chunk of this investment, GBP1 billion (USD1.3 billion) will go towards ultra low emissions vehicles, of which nearly GBP100 million (USD130.5 million) will be spent on the UK’s charging infrastructure.
“We are determined to deliver a green revolution in transport and reduce pollution in our towns and cities,” said UK Transport Secretary Chris Grayling.
“We are taking bold action and want nearly every car and van on UK roads to be zero emission by 2050 which is why we’ve committed to investing more than GBP 600 million (USD783 million) in the development, manufacture and use of ultra-low emission vehicles by 2020.”
Grayling added that the UK government is also committing GBP 100 million (USD130 million) towards new low emission buses and retrofitting older buses with cleaner engines.
“We are also putting forward proposals for van drivers to have the right to use heavier vehicles if they are electric or gas-powered, making it easier for businesses to opt for cleaner commercial vehicles,” he said.
Air quality in the UK has been improving significantly in recent decades, with reductions in emissions of all of the key pollutants and NO2 levels down by half in the last 15 years. Despite this, an analysis of more than 1,800 of Britain’s major roads showed that a small number of these (81 or 4%) are due to breach legal pollution limits for NO2, with 33 of these outside of London.
To accelerate action, local areas will be asked to produce initial plans within eight months and final plans by the end of next year.
Local authorities will have access to a range of options to tackle poor air quality in their plans such as changing road layouts to reduce congestion, encouraging uptake of ultra-low emissions vehicles and retrofitting public transport.