Campaigners warn plans to ban new diesel and petrol cars from 2040 will cost ‘trillions’

PUBLISHED: 08:18 26 July 2017 | UPDATED: 08:18 26 July 2017

The government's air quality plans have divided opinion. Photo: Lewis Whyld/PA Wire

The government's air quality plans have divided opinion. Photo: Lewis Whyld/PA Wire

FairFuelUK wants to see new fuel technologies phased in over time rather than setting a target date

Plans to ban new diesel and petrol cars and vans from 2040 as part of efforts to tackle air pollution, will cost “trillions”, Kent-based campaigners have warned.

The government is due to publish a clean air strategy today and is expected to unveil a £225m fund to help councils speed up local measures to deal with pollution from diesel vehicles.

The expected move to ban petrol and diesel vans and cars follows similar plans announced in France this month and amid increasing signs that the shift to electric vehicles is accelerating.

However, FairFuelUK, which lobbies ministers for better deals for motorists and has its headquarters in Cranbrook, argues it would be better to phase in new fuel technologies to work effectively and be supported, without a target date to terminate diesel and petrol.

Founder Howard Cox said: “We have practical proven ways to reduce emissions available now.

“Why has Michael Gove ignored these in favour of a draconian policy that will hit small businesses and low-income families the hardest?

“The energy supply infrastructure and the National Grid will disintegrate in a breakneck move to nascent electric technology which will guarantee to cripple the economy.”

Motoring journalist and lead spokesman for the campaign, Quentin Willson, added: “So by 2040 no fuel stations no garage repairs no car parts suppliers and 15m diesels scrapped. The cost will be trillions.”

Air pollution is linked to around 40,000 premature deaths a year in the UK, and transport also makes up a significant share of greenhouse gas emissions.

A government spokesman said: “Poor air quality is the biggest environmental risk to public health in the UK and this government is determined to take strong action in the shortest time possible.

“That is why we are providing councils with new funding to accelerate development of local plans, as part of an ambitious £3 billion programme to clean up dirty air around our roads.

“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.

“Diesel drivers are not to blame and, to help them switch to cleaner vehicles, the government will consult on a targeted scrappage scheme, one of a number of measures to support motorists affected by local plans.”

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