Starting in 2035, it will no longer be possible to buy a diesel/petrol cars or vans in the UK. The government wants to ban them from roads and achieve zero CO2 emissions by 2050. The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan already has in mind to introduce a tax for the most polluting cars by the autumn.
The change comes after experts said 2040 would be too late if the UK wants to achieve its target of emitting zero carbon by 2050.
“We cannot continue to use diesel and gasoline cars, not only because of the health problems, but also because their emissions mean an acceleration of climate change and because they are harming our planet and to the next generation, “Environment Minister Michael Gove told the BBC. The United Kingdom has thus committed itself to reducing nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution, produced in particular by motor vehicles.
While the United Kingdom is Europe’s second-largest diesel market, sales of diesel and petrol cars have dropped in the first half of the year by 10% (diesel) and of 5% (petrol) respectively. For the same period, the sale of hybrid models has jumped by 30%. But the share of electric and hybrid vehicles in the market is expected to increase in the coming years. Pollution is linked to 40,000 deaths per year in Great Britain. However, some people are outraged as was the case in France when a similar announcement was made, particularly about the impact that this will have for millions of car and van owners.
The United Kingdom is among five countries warned in February by the European Commission for their air quality, alongside France and Germany. According to official figures, air pollution is contributing to more than 40,000 deaths per year in the country and causes an epidemic of respiratory diseases, especially in young children. Faced with this and seized by an environmental organisation, the London High Court last year urged the government to reconsider its copy of the objectives to be achieved.
London intends to invest £875m over the next five years to improve air quality. The funds will be used to help reduce vehicle pollution, particularly diesel. Emitting three times more NO2 than petrol powered vehicles, diesel cars could even be banned on some sections where pollution is high.
Not fast enough, says Greenpeace
The Association of Automobile Manufacturers and Sellers has defended the London plan. These new measures are likely to “weaken a successful British automotive sector if we do not give it enough time to adapt,” according to CEO Mike Hawes. While the demand for electric, hybrid and hydrogen cars is still growing, the demand for electric, hybrid and hydrogen cars is still very low, “said Hawes,” because the “prices, range and recharging stations” do not appeal to consumers.
Greenpeace welcomed these first steps, but would have liked London to proceed faster. “The government is right to set a date to stop the sale of petrol and diesel engines, but 2040 is too late,” a Greenpeace spokesman said. The environmental organisation wants London to follow in the footsteps of Norway, which aspires to stop the sale of new cars with combustion engines from 2025.