New diesel and petrol cars to be banned from UK roads by 2040

Lucy Purdy

The sale of petrol and diesel cars will end in the UK in 2040, with a new tax on diesel drivers to be introduced from 2020

The government has confirmed plans to ban the sale of new diesel and petrol cars in the UK from 2040. It comes amid fears that rising levels of nitrogen oxide pose a major risk to public health.

The commitment follows a similar pledge made in France.


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Ministers are expected to unveil a £255m fund to help councils tackle emissions from diesel vehicles, as part of a £3bn package of spending on air quality. From 2020, new pollution taxes will also be levied on diesel drivers who use congested highways – targeting busy roads in major towns and cities, as well as some motorways.

Campaigners have described the measures as promising, but say more detail is needed.

Aston University car industry expert Professor David Bailey has said he believes the timescale is long enough to be taken seriously and could speed up the transition to electric cars.

The industry wants a positive approach which gives consumers incentives to purchase these greener cars

The industry trade body, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, said an outright ban on diesels would hurt the sector and have urged instead for efforts to persuade people of the benefits of greener vehicles.

Chief executive Mike Hawes told the BBC: “The industry instead wants a positive approach which gives consumers incentives to purchase these [greener] cars.”


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