The Gaza Post The News of Palestine – London
The United Kingdom government is set to announce that new diesel and petrol cars and vans will be banned in the UK from 2040 in a bid to tackle air pollution.
Ministers will also unveil a £255m fund to help councils tackle emissions from diesel vehicles, as part of a £3bn package of spending on air quality.
The government will later publish its clean air strategy, favouring electric cars, before a High Court deadline.
Campaigners said the measures were promising, but more detail was needed.
They had wanted government-funded and mandated clean air zones, with charges for the most-polluting vehicles to enter areas with high pollution, included in the plans.
After a protracted legal battle, the government was ordered by the courts to produce new plans to tackle illegal levels of harmful pollutant nitrogen dioxide.
Judges agreed with environmental campaigners that previous plans were insufficient to meet EU pollution limits.
Ministers had to set out their draft clean air strategy plans in May, with the final measures due by 31 July.
Environment Secretary Michael Gove said the government would give more than £200m to local authorities to draw up plans to tackle particular roads with high pollution.
“What we’re saying to local authorities is come up with an imaginative solution to these proposals,” he told the Today programme.
Asked if there could be charges for drivers of certain vehicles he said: “I don’t believe that it is necessary… but we will work with local authorities in order to determine what the best approach is.”
The government plan will not contain a vehicle scrappage scheme, although this will be reconsidered in the autumn.
And it won’t yet mandate councils to charge dirty vehicles to enter cities, unless they fail to solve pollution by other means – such as better public transport and restrictions barring diesel vehicles at peak times.
Ministers were ordered by the High Court to produce a comprehensive clean air strategy by the end of this month.
Today’s plan is not comprehensive – it doesn’t address pollution from construction, farming and gas boilers.
But ministers argue it is better to have a scheme for tackling the worst pollution hotspots rather than rushing out a botched comprehensive strategy.
Clean air campaigners say the government is using the 2040 electric cars announcement to distract from failings in its short-term policy.
Air pollution is thought to be linked to about 40,000 premature deaths a year in the UK, and transport also contributes to greenhouse gas emissions.
A government spokesman said poor air quality was “the biggest environmental risk” to public health in the UK.
SourceL BBC News