New diesel and petrol vehicles to be banned from 2040 in UK

Motorway trafficImage copyright PA

New diesel and petrol cars and vans will be banned in the UK from 2040 in a bid to tackle air pollution, the government is set to announce.

Ministers are to unveil a £255m fund to help councils introduce steps to deal with pollution from diesel vehicles as part of £3bn spending on air quality.

The government will publish a court-mandated clean air strategy later, days before a High Court deadline.

Campaigners said the measures were promising, but more detail was needed.

The government was ordered by the courts to produce new plans to tackle illegal levels of harmful pollutant nitrogen dioxide.

It came after the courts agreed with environmental campaigners that previous plans were insufficient to meet EU pollution limits.

Retrofitting buses

Ministers had to set out their draft clean air strategy plans in May with the final measures due by 31 July.

Local measures could include retrofitting buses and other transport to make them cleaner, changing road layouts, altering features such as speed humps and re-programming traffic lights to make vehicle-flow smoother.

Campaigners want government-funded and mandated clean air zones, with charges for the most-polluting vehicles to enter areas with high air pollution, included in the plans, as well as a diesel scrappage scheme.

But ministers have been wary of being seen to «punish» drivers of diesel cars, who, it argues, bought the vehicles in good faith after being encouraged to by the last Labour government on the basis they produced lower carbon emissions.

The UK announcement comes amid signs of an accelerating shift towards electric cars instead of petrol and diesel ones both at home and abroad:


By Roger Harrabin, BBC environment correspondent

The government’s plans will not contain a vehicle scrappage scheme. And it won’t mandate councils to charge dirty vehicles to enter cities.

Compulsory clean air

New diesel and petrol vehicles to be banned from 2040 in UK