July 26 (UPI) — For environmental reasons, Britain will ban all new gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles from its roads beginning in 23 years, a government report says.
The plan, expected Wednesday, aims to start removing gasoline and diesel engines in 2040. It follows a similar declaration in France and comes after the British government was ordered by courts to develop new plans to reduce nitrogen dioxide in the air.
Judges ruled that prior clean-air plans were inadequate to meet European Union pollution limits in coming years.
Britain’s government has said the poor air quality has an unnecessary and avoidable negative impact on citizens’ health, and costs up to $3.5 billion in annual lost productivity.
Part of the new plan involves an offer of $260 million to local governments to change rules where vehicle emissions surpass EU thresholds. Ideas so far include changing road layouts, reprogramming traffic lights and imposing charges on the oldest and most polluting cars on the road.
The plan also includes $1.3 billion for government purchase of ultra-low emissions vehicles, nearly $130 million to improve infrastructure for electric vehicle charging stations and $378 million for retrofitting existing vehicles.
Climate change is also a reason for the plan to get gas vehicles off the road.
“We can’t carry on with diesel and petrol cars,” Environment Secretary Michael Gove said. “It’s important we all gear up for a significant change which deals not just with the problems to health caused by emissions, but the broader problems caused in terms of accelerating climate change.”