Bring petrol and diesel ban forward to 2030, urge city leaders

19 June 2018

19 June 2018

Ahead of the UK Government’s ′Road to Zero’ plan which is expected to outline a ban on petrol and diesel-only vehicles, Mayors from cities around the country are calling for the 2040 timeline to be brought forward.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan, an outspoken critic of diesel technology, joined together with leaders from other cities to urge the government to bring the policy forward to 2030 in a bid to improve air quality at a faster rate.

Leaders from cities including Manchester, Bradford, Bristol, Cardiff, and Oxford, who represent a combined 20 million residents, will put their case to environment secretary Michael Gove before the plan’s launch at a conference on air quality.

′Air pollution is not an isolated problem; it’s a national health crisis,’ Khan said. ′Our country’s filthy air is shortening lives, damaging lungs and severely impacting on the NHS.’

Research has shown that the phasing out of petrol and diesel vehicles would lead to a 30% reduction in pollution in 2030, improving health, and potentially boosting the country’s economy by billions by making the UK a global leader in low-emission technology.

′That’s why we’re bringing together city leaders from across England and Wales to put this at the top of the agenda,’ Khan continues. ′We have to take bold action, but while we’re all doing what we can, we need government support to do even more. Banning the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030, providing support to deliver Clean Air Zones in cities and introducing a national vehicle renewal scheme will dramatically improve our air quality and our health. Michael Gove has made a good start as Environment Secretary, but we need the government to match our ambition and help us urgently drive forward these improvements. We cannot afford to delay.’

The leaders are expected to back a plan for clean air, with proposals including a targeted national vehicle renewal scheme to replace older polluting vehicles that support drivers and businesses to change to low-emission vehicles; an enhanced Clean Air Fund open to all towns and cities in England funded by UK Government and motor-vehicle manufacturers; a call to bring the 2040 ban on internal combustion engines forward by ten years and A modern Clean Air Act that establishes strong air quality limits standards linked to World Health Organisation recommended guidelines, enforced by a new independent statutory body.

Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, commented: ‘We have all been too complacent about the public health crisis of people breathing in illegal, polluted air. It is damaging health and shortening lives, particularly in our poorest communities. Greater Manchester is ready to break out of that and show the ambition needed to clean up our air. But we can’t do it alone. We need to see the same level of ambition from the Government in the form of substantial, up-front investment. We also need to see major investment in the public transport infrastructure of Northern England if people here are to have an alternative to the car. It is only radical action on this scale that will tackle this problem and save lives.’

The report is expected to outline the government’s plans on banning internal combustion engines, with recent media coverage speculating that current hybrid and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) could fall foul of the plans.