The shift to electric vehicles is accelerating especially in Europe as the UK is set to announce a ban on new diesel and petrol cars and vans from 2040 in a bid to tackle air pollution. France Ecology Minister, Nicolas Hulot, also recently announced what he a called a “revolution” that will see France Ban the sale of any vehicles that uses petrol (gasoline) or diesel fuel by 2040.
A government spokesman said poor air quality was “the biggest environmental risk” to public health in the UK.
“This government is determined to take strong action in the shortest time possible,” he said.
“Our plan to deal with dirty diesels will help councils clean up emissions hotspots – often a single road – through common sense measures which do not unfairly penalise ordinary working people.”
The UK government spokesperson also said ministers will unveil a £255m fund to help councils tackle emissions from diesel vehicles, as part of a £3bn package of spending on air quality. The Uk government will later publish its clean air strategy, favouring electric cars, before a High Court deadline.
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.
Local measures could include altering buses and other transport to make them cleaner, changing road layouts, altering features such as speed humps, and re-programming traffic lights to make vehicle-flow smoother.
It is thought ministers will consult on a scrappage scheme later this year, but there is no firm commitment.
Ministers have been wary of being seen to “punish” drivers of diesel cars, who, they argue, bought the vehicles after being encouraged to by the last Labour government because they produced lower carbon emissions.
The UK announcement comes amid signs of an accelerating shift towards electric cars instead of petrol and diesel ones, both at home and abroad:
The UK 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. 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.
Labour said the government was only acting after being taken to court.
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs spokeswoman Sue Hayman MP said the government had a “squeamish” attitude to clear air zones, and was shunting the problem on to local authorities.
“With nearly 40 million people living in areas with illegal levels of air pollution, action is needed now, not in 23 years’ time,” she said.
French “Revolution”: Ban On Vehicles Using Petrol (Gasoline) Or Diesel Coming – Minister
The shift to electric vehicles got a boost as France Ecology Minister, Nicolas Hulot, announced what he a called a “revolution” that will see France Ban the sale of any vehicles that uses petrol (gasoline) or diesel fuel by 2040, in what the Ecology Minister, Nicolas Hulot called a “revolution”. Nicolas Hulot said the planned ban on fossil fuel vehicles is part of a renewed commitment by France to the Paris climate deal. He said France planned to become carbon neutral by 2050.
France Ecology Minister, Nicolas Hulotn said:
“France has decided to become carbon neutral by 2050 following the US decision,” Mr Hulot said, stating that the government would have to make investments to meet that target. Poorer households will receive financial assistance to replace older, more polluting vehicles with cleaner ones,”
Hybrid cars make up about 3.5% of the French market, with pure electric vehicles accounting for just 1.2%.
It is not yet clear what will happen to existing fossil fuel vehicles still in use in 2040.
Mr Hulot, a veteran environmental campaigner, was appointed by new French President Emmanuel Macron. Mr Macron has openly criticised US environmental policy, urging Donald Trump to “make our planet great again”.
President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris agreement in June was explicitly named as a factor in France’s new vehicle plan.
Earlier this week, car manufacturer Volvo said all of its cars would be at least partly electric from 2019, an announcement referenced by Mr Hulot.
He said he believes French car manufacturers, including brands such as Peugeot-Citreon and Renault, would meet the challenge, although he acknowledged it would be difficult. Renault’s “Zoe” electric vehicle range is one of the most popular in Europe.
However, traditional fossil fuel vehicles account for about 95% of the European market.
Other targets set in the French environmental plan include ending coal power plants by 2022, reducing nuclear power to 50% of total output by 2025, and ending the issuance of new oil and gas exploration licences.
Several French cities struggle with high levels of air pollution, including Paris, which saw several days of peak pollution in March.
The capital has implemented a range of measures to cut down on cars, but air pollution is also a problem in picturesque mountain regions.
Last month, a woman took the French State to court over what she said was a failure to protect her health from the effects of air pollution in Paris.
Norway, which is the leader in the use of electric cars in Europe, wants to move to electric-only vehicles by 2025, as does the Netherlands. Both Germany and India have proposed similar measures with a target of 2030