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UK reportedly plans ban on new diesel and petrol vehicles from 2040

  • New petrol and diesel cars could be banned in the U.K. by 2040 under plans set to be announced by the U.K. government on Wednesday, according to a report by the BBC.
  • Government ministers are set to unveil a fund to help councils tackle emissions from diesel vehicles, as part of a package designed to tackle air pollution in the country.
  • The U.K. was legally required to produce the new proposals to tackle nitrogen dioxide, which experts believe is the most harmful pollutant from road transport.
Traffic queues on the M8 motorway following its closure in Livingston, Scotland.
Jeff J Mitchell | Getty Images
Traffic queues on the M8 motorway following its closure in Livingston, Scotland.

New petrol and diesel cars could be banned in the U.K. by 2040 under plans set to be announced by the U.K. government on Wednesday, according to a report by the BBC.

The broadcaster said on Wednesday that government ministers are set to unveil a £255 million ($292.9 million) fund to help councils tackle emissions from diesel vehicles, as part of a £3 billion ($3.9 billion) package designed to tackle air pollution in the country.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs told CNBC that the report was due to be published later on Wednesday but in a draft document published in May which detailed the government's clean air strategy, the government said its aim was "for almost every car and van to be a zero emission vehicle by 2050." That date has been brought forward by a decade, according to the BBC report.

The U.K. has adopted legally binding European commitments to reduce a selection of air pollutants by 2020 and 2030. It said in May, however, that its main priority was "tackling the problem of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) concentrations around roads - the only statutory air quality obligation that the U.K. is currently failing to meet."

The U.K. was legally required by the country's High Court to produce the new proposals to tackle nitrogen dioxide, which experts believe is the most harmful pollutant from road transport.

The proposals come after President Emmanuel Macron in France announced a similar plan earlier in July. Carmakers such as Volvo and BMW – which yesterday announced it would build a fully electric Mini in the UK from 2019 - are also moving towards phasing out traditional petrol and diesel engines for electric models.

The plans will not be without controversy, however, as a previous Labour government had promoted diesel cars on the basis that they produced lower carbon emissions, sending sales of diesel cars higher.

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