Plans to tackle air pollution have made countries take drastic steps and one such step is the proposed ban on all petrol and diesel cars in the future. The British government in 2017 announced to ban the complete sale of all carbon dioxide emitting vehicles by 2040 and ensure that all new vehicles are “effectively zero emission”.
The decision was taken to encourage or as you can say force motorists to opt low-emission vehicles like electric, hybrid or hydrogen cars above petrol and diesel variants and help the British government in achieving its pollution targets.
Air pollution is the biggest health risks to the public in the UK and is behind premature death of almost 40,000 citizens every year. Nitrogen oxides – the main discharge from car exhausts – happen to be the key reason behind poor air quality. Therefore, to control air pollution and to keep levels of harmful pollutants like nitrogen dioxide under control, the court has ordered the British government to devise an effective new plan. Ban on petrol and diesel cars is part of that plan; however, the ban won’t be imposed on hybrid cars.
Concerns about the poor air quality aren’t new, but more and more studies are proving the detrimental effects of air pollution, especially nitrogen dioxide on human health. They have been linked to increased heart diseases, lungs problems, and memory loss.
Moreover, growing concerns of the world’s bodies like the UN on global warming and their warnings to restrict global temperatures from rising has forced governments to take emergency steps. However, the British government’s advisors aren’t much happy with the ban to be imposed by 2040 and are urging to move forward the date of the ban and impose it by 2032.
The MPs believe that the 2040 target is too conservative to effectively meet the goals of emissions’ reduction. With the 2040 target, the UK is falling behind several other countries, such as Norway that have proposed to ban the sales of petrol and diesel cars by 2025. India, Netherlands, Ireland, and China have set the target of 2030 to end the sales of combustion cars whereas Scotland vows to achieve the zero-emission target by 2032.
However, with vague and lazy plans and with average net sales of electric cars being less than 1%, the switch requires enormous changes at the administrative level which are unlikely to be met by the deadline. The government nevertheless is claiming to be on the right track to achieve the zero-emission target by 2040.
A government’s spokesperson told that the lack of charging infrastructure is the major problem behind adopting this EV and PHEV culture. To tackle this, the government has ordered its MPs to address the infrastructure problems across the country. Moreover, the British government is also planning to introduce a ‘scrappage scheme’ under which 15000 of the most polluting vehicles will be taken off the road and their owners will be given £8,000 to switch to the eco-friendly variants. Such measures, the government believes, will encourage the widespread adoption of low-emission cars and thus through this aims to achieve the target of zero-emission by 2040.