The UK government has announced petrol and diesel vehicles from 2040 will be banned in the country, but green groups and city leaders said the plan does nothing to address the current pollution crisis.
A new report was published this week by the environment secretary Michael Gove announcing the selling of conventional petrol and diesel cars would be banned in 23 years.
However, the government did not commit to create more car-free charging zones (so called clean air zones) in the short-term, labeling this as ‘the last resort’ and did not include hybrid cars in the measure.
Gove said the plan sets out a measure to tackle nitrogen dioxide but that this was just “one element of the government’s £3bn programme to clean up the air and reduce vehicle emissions”.
Mayors and environmental groups have expressed concern that the ban will not help the country solving the current dirty air emergency – which according to health authorities causes 40,000 early deaths a year and avoidable respiratory problems, especially among children.
Heads of Liverpool, Leeds, Birmingham, Southampton, Leicester and Oxford city councils sent a letter to Gove saying the measure sets up long-term goals but “lacks some specific actions that would enable us to meet the legal limits and establish safer air sooner rather than later”.
Oliver Hayes, Friends of the Earth air pollution campaigner commented, “This is a cynical move by the government to grab the headlines by announcing changes for 23 years’ time and failing to enact measures which will curb pollution in UK towns and cities now.
“This is what the courts demanded and what the UK’s choking streets are crying out for.”
Recently, France also declared diesel vehicles will be banned by 2040, following the lead of other countries, as a measure to tackle air pollution.
Photo: Zoi Koraki via Flickr