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The British Government is expected to announce it will ban new diesel and petrol cars and vans from 2040 in a bid to fight air pollution.
Air pollution is a huge problem in the UK – as it is globally – and is linked to approximately 40,000 premature deaths a year in the UK.
A £255m fund to help councils tackle emissions from diesel vehicles will also be announced. It is part of a £3 billion program to ‘clean up dirty air’ around roads.
A Government spokesman said: “Poor air quality is the biggest environmental risk to public health in the UK and this government is determined to take strong action in the shortest time possible.
“That is why we are providing councils with new funding to accelerate development of local plans, as part of an ambitious £3bn programme to clean up dirty air around our roads.
“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.”
The news has not been met with universal praise, with critics calling the move ‘too little too late’. The Liberal Democrats want a ban on the sale of diesel vehicles by 2025.
Liberal Democrat transport spokeswoman Jenny Randerson said: “Air pollution is poisoning our children and leading to causing avoidable deaths across the country.
“Instead of properly fighting this silent killer the government has flip-flopped, offering tax breaks for cars that they are now banning. The Government’s feeble attempts to tackle air pollution are too little too late.
“The Government needs to take drastic action to end this public health crisis, every moment they sit on their hands more people are breathing in and dying from polluted air.
“The Liberal Democrats have called for all new diesel sales to end by 2025 and a scrappage scheme to help drivers convert to greener vehicles. We are serious about fighting air pollution, this Government is not.”
France recently unveiled similar plans to ban diesel vehicles. But while these plans may go some way to tackle some air issues, they overlook that it is animal agriculture – rather than transport – that is the leading cause of greenhouse gas emissions.
You can read PBN’s commentary on this issue here.