Britain’s government is expected to announce a ban on new diesel and petrol cars beginning 2040 as part of the country’s efforts to tackle air pollution.
The Independent reported that a £255 million (RM1.4 billion) fund is expected to be unveiled to help councils speed up local measures to deal with pollution from diesel vehicles, as part of £3 billion (RM16.7 billion) in spending on air quality.
However, it also reported critics said it would be too little too late, with Liberal Democrats calling for new diesel sales to end by 2025, while former Labour leader and Energy Secretary Ed Miliband said the move was a “smokescreen” hiding a lack of immediate action to reduce emissions.
The Government is set to include the 2040 ban in a court-mandated clean air strategy due to be published on Wednesday.
This follows similar plans announced in France this month and amid increasing signs that the shift to electric vehicles is accelerating.
Volvo has also recently announced it would be electrifying its entire range from 2019 onwards.
The Government was ordered to produce new plans to tackle illegal levels of harmful pollutant nitrogen dioxide after the courts agreed with environmental campaigners that a previous set of plans were insufficient to meet EU pollution limits.
Meanwhile, it is thought ministers will also consult on a diesel scrappage scheme to take the dirtiest vehicles off the road, which is considered necessary to immediately reduce emissions.
Air pollution is linked to around 40,000 premature deaths a year in the UK, and transport also makes up a significant share of greenhouse gas emissions.
A Government spokesman said poor air quality is the biggest environmental risk to public health in the UK and the government is determined to take strong action in the shortest time possible.
“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.
“Diesel drivers are not to blame and, to help them switch to cleaner vehicles, the government will consult on a targeted scrappage scheme, one of a number of measures to support motorists affected by local plans,” he said.