Government unveils ambitious plans to ban all petrol and diesel car sales by 2040

Published 26 July 2017

Petrol and diesel car and van sales could be banned after 2040, as part of Government plans to tackle air pollution.

The ambitious proposals are part of the UK’s Clean Air Strategy, which is focused on lowering nitrogen dioxide (NO2). 

As well as banning all new conventional petrol and diesel vehicle sales, the Government will spend £3 billion on improving air quality, with councils being given the power to introduce ‘clean air zones’ and charge diesels to enter. 

Almost £3 billion has been earmarked to improve air quality, with £1 billion going towards plug-in grant schemes for cars and vans

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs analysed over 1800 of Britain’s major roads and found that 81 breached legal pollution limits for NO2, with 33 of these outside of London. According to a study by the Royal College of Physicians, air pollution causes 40,000 early deaths in the UK every year. 

A national diesel scrappage scheme is not thought to be on the cards, with the Government estimating that it would cost £60 billion to scrap all 10 million pre-Euro6 diesel cars and vans that are currently on the road.

A smaller targeted scrappage scheme could take place in the future, however and be aimed at diesels registered before 1 September 2015, with owners being paid up to £8000 to replace their cars with cleaner electric vehicles. The Government has said it will launch a consultation in the autumn to see if a targeted scrappage scheme is financially viable. 

>> Comment: What the potential ban on sales of new petrol and diesels means for classics

Some £3 billion of public money has been earmarked to improve air quality, with £1 billion going towards plug-in grant schemes for cars and vans. £1.2 billion will also go to the Government's cycling and walking investment strategy, while £89 million will be spent on a green bus fund, which will help bus companies and local authorities in England to put over 1200 new low carbon buses on the roads.

Roughly £100 million will be given to Highways England to improve air quality on the roads while a similar amount will be spent on improving the UK's electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

As well as more money for roads, plug-in grants and cycle routes, local councils will also be able to bid for money from a new Clean Air Fund to support improvements which will reduce the need for restrictions on polluting vehicles. This could include changing road layouts, removing traffic lights and speed humps, or upgrading bus fleets.

Car and van manufacturers found to be using devices on their vehicles to cheat emissions tests could face criminal and civil charges, with fines of up to £50,000 for every device installed, under proposed new laws.

Comments

Pete4L    on 26 July 2017

By 2100 we'll all be traveling around by horse and cart!
You heard it here first!

Bicycle_Repair_Man    on 26 July 2017

I'll happily buy an electric car when it proves to be better than my diesel-powered one. If the current shortcomings of electric cars aren't addressed then they simply won't be suitable for the vast majority of motorists.

And let's not forget where electricity comes from...

Warfstaff    on 27 July 2017

Why not electrify railways and get rid of those noisy, smelly diesels.......dohh, I've just shot my foot.

John Searby    on 27 July 2017

Just where is all this extra electricity going to come from then, and what about commercial vehicles? If the fuel producing infrastructure shrinks, where are trucks going to get diesel from?

Edited by John Searby on 27/07/2017 at 14:37

Chris James    on 29 July 2017

Just where is all this extra electricity going to come from then, and what about commercial vehicles? If the fuel producing infrastructure shrinks, where are trucks going to get diesel from?

It's not just the Extra Electricity that will need addtional power stations to produce but the upgrade of the entire national grid throughout the UK in order to cope with the distribution. Our local substation doesn't have the capacity to cope with hundreds of new houses which have been built and power cuts are now frequent, however the local DNO doesn't have the money to upgrade it. I wonder what will happen when these houses all begin to charge one or two Electric cars every day!. The cost of this national network upgrade will cost billions, and don't forget that we haven't all begun footing the bill for the smart meter roll out yet, which will add around £100 to every Households' annual energy bill from next year!. Once the cost of building new power stations and covering the additional load of millions of extra current hungry car chargers is added to the Electricity costs, it will cost as much to charge a small electric car in the future, as it does to put petrol into a Ferrari or Bentley today!. Plus the Government will also want to add enough tax to it, to cover the £57 Billion Revenue that it currently makes from Duty and Vat on fuel sales.

Gordon Roy    on 28 July 2017

My wife had a Renault Zoe, excellent car to drive & very economical. Great car about town though limited by range. She now drives a Yaris Hybrid which is also a nice car to drive & economical. I plan on buying a Hybrid for my next car in around 3 - 4 years, current vehicle is VW Passat 1.6 TDi. I think Hybrid is the way forward, to go fully electric has major repercussions. What if for some reason we return to the 70's and have enforced power cuts for whatever reason, the country would then grind to a halt!

bodywork    on 28 July 2017

All the comments I read may have a point, but, they are all irellevent in my opinion, IF this ever happens to materialise, and is there really a choice? pollution etc, then the idea of choosing or rejecting a car because it doesn't drive as well as a diesel will be completely redundant, simple because there will only be electric cars available to buy, and not before time.

Chris James    on 29 July 2017

So, what do the Government intend to do about the thousands of Jobs in manufacturing?. We don't make a single battery or Electric Motor for Electric Vehicles in the UK and probably never will, yet we do have several large plants making diesel engines and each of these employs thousands of workers, and that is before you also consider the hundreds of smaller businesses involved in their supply chain. I've constantly read political d***** (carefully cherry picked for the press in order to serve a vested interest obviously) against diesel engines, yet i've read absolutely nothing about new lithium battery plants being built, in order to ensure that hundreds of thousands of Jobs will not be lost. We have already seen the Government sit back and do nothing, as our Chocolate, Steel, Appliance and a large chunk of our previously huge car and truck industry has vanished and now they seem content to sit back and let the same happen to this area of business. But you get what you settle for......

Ron Crallan    on 31 July 2017

I live in a community of flats. Will I need a very long cable to charge my electric car or will my landlord be willing to install 50+ ,charging points.
When travelling on the continent will all countries have charging points?

   on 31 July 2017

Insert the words 'nationwide high speed broadband' into the phrase 'electric cars for everyone by 2040' and it will be seen to be just another tactic to extract more tax in the interim period from the motoring population who were encouraged to buy diesel such a short time ago. Bah!

Richard Cook    on 31 July 2017

The idea of millions of charging stations is simply ridiculous. There would be people driving around looking for an available charging bay and others blocking the roads when they run out of power.
Then what would you do when you go on a long trip? stop off every few hundred miles and wait hours for your batteries to recharge. The only way to address this is have fuel stations selling fuel cells that can just be swapped over and you are on your way again. Of course this will mean that the government will be able to add an enormous amount of tax to each fuel cell which will suit them just fine. Of course they could always put an overhead power line everywhere then we could all drive around in bumper cars, not only good for the environment but it would add an element of fun to driving again.

Keith Killigrew    on 31 July 2017

There will be rioying in the streets, When I can buy an electric car with a battery the size of a standard car battery that will give me a 300 mile minimum range then i might think about it. Hydrogen power is that answer if only our "Must do something" politicians could only their ignore their daft advisors and do something meaningful.

Richard Fyfe    on 31 July 2017

I am really stunned by the governments latest lies about EV's. Do they think that Noddy Cars are suitable for non city driving. You can not tow a trailer or caravan, not much good in rural locations either.
The "Buy Diesel Cars" campaign was the Government push and look what they say now! Its "Noddy Cars" folks.
Why are they hiding the Environmental impact of the EV cars, studies show they are worse than EU6 cars. With a limited resource of battery material available, no mention of the mining of minerals using child labour in Africa!
Why has the government not gone for Bio Fuel, our farmers are always complaining of not making enough money with conventional products, grow a product to make fuel from.
Lastly, government should stop using this issue to take the sheepeole's mind of the tragic EU debacle and financial catastrophe of Brexit, in a couple of years we may not be able to afford to bring into UK new cars or parts.

conman    on 31 July 2017

In a recent BBC article :-

Ministers also want councils to install more on-street charging points.
The Department for Transport estimates that it costs about £10,000 to install a power point capable of charging two vehicles at once in a residential street.
Local authorities will therefore be expected to provide about £2,500 towards the cost of installing each new charging point.

The government estimates that it will cost between about £1,000 and £1,500 for drivers with off-street parking to install charging points in their garages or driveways; it will fund 75% of this cost, up to a maximum contribution of £1,000.

And local authorities wanting to invest in rapid charging points, which cost about £45,000 to install and make it easier for drivers of electric vehicles to undertake longer journeys, will also be able to apply to central government for the same proportion of funding.

With the government subsidising the electric car by £5000 approx. X 12 million.

The government better start installing the charging points now.

We had road rage when we had the petrol shortages and You tube is full of parking rages. just think what's going to happen when you need to charge your car and someone's taken up the charging point and left their car and gone shopping.

conman    on 31 July 2017

you only have to go on the internet to see the price of having charging points fitted in your garage or on the driveway. (only prices shown) I cannot find if your parked on the road.

On the Internet..

The grant is set as a 75% contribution to the cost of one charge point and its installation and the grant cap is set at £500 (including VAT) per eligible vehicle. This is a reduction on the previous grant cap of £700. The new grant will bring the cost of a standard 3kW unit + installation to around £300 whilst a faster 7kW unit would be in the region of £400.

The government is already backtracking on the cost of grants, already reduced from £700 to £500. When they realise just how big a b----ck they have dropped expect it to drop further. Get your order in now. !!!!!!!!!

conman    on 31 July 2017

An interesting web site is ZAP MAP showing charging points, the type of charging rate. It also stated that there has been an increase of 3,000 charging points in the last year.
Also I did not know that some of the points now charge, or you have to pay for a card membership.

I did not know there was 4 different types of connections. A thing to consider when looking for a charging point.

Doing a basic sum the government is hoping to get the whole system up and running by 2040, .

So say an estimate is, 5 million charging points by 2040 that is a total of 23 years, they will have to install a minimum of 125,000 a year from now. If the total is nearer 10,000,000 that will be 250,000 a year starting next week.

Plus 2 new power stations ( that the Greens are against)

Recent article regarding power stations:-
Ministers and EDF have been in talks for more than a year about the minimum price the company will be paid for electricity produced at the site, which the government estimates will cost £16bn to build.

The two sides have now agreed the "strike price" of £92.50 for every megawatt hour of energy Hinkley C generates. This is almost twice the current wholesale cost of electricity.

so electricity is going to get expensive.

David P - Cowley Oxon    on 31 July 2017

I live in a block of high-rise flats in one of the Oxford suburbs. One of 120 apartments. Where are the charging points and parking spaces going to be?
We currently park where we can, sometimes 100 yards from where we live.

used2bsmart    on 31 July 2017

Here we go again , once again the powers that be see the motorist as a cash cow .
Government grant up to £8000 to buy an electric vehicle , a grant that will be useless when dealers will up the price by £8000 anyway .
Our national grid has no where near the capacity to handle the influx of all these new power hungry vehicles
How many motorists will stick two fingers up and run their petrol / diesel car into the ground and just buy a second hand car when it dies .
I can see the government of the day increasing fuel duty in the region of 200% . One to slap the hand of those NOT buying a new electric vehicle and two they will need to recover the loss in fuel duty from those that do .
And lets not forget whilst all this is going on air traffic continues to expand roughly 4% per annum , yet there is no legislation to compel that industry to use engines that have low emissions .
Avgas still contains lead and jet fuel is a hydrocarbon both of these fail to contribute to a clean air initiative .
And then you have the shipping industry that according to some government departments kills 60 000 people world wide solely through their harmful emissions .
You would think after all that I'm dead set against electric vehicles , far from it .
My dream car is a Tesla s p100 and on my wages I may just be able to afford a series 1 in around 2040 .
Or more than likely I will be the owner of the highest mileage Smart forfour cdi in existence

Kim Hobday    on 1 August 2017

If we're going to need new plants to manufacture the required lithium batteries...when those batteries eventually need to be replaced, where are they going to dispose of all the used ones?

Not a problem for our immediate generation but as the years go on, the problem is just going to get bigger and bigger. Do we just let future generations sort that out as usual?

i3 Driver    on 1 August 2017

Economics will eventually sort out if EV;s take over, I have an i3 range extender which for most of my driving is entirely adequate. In six months I have done 12000 miles and only used 40 litres of petrol, the rest entirely electric. It has been a superb car, smooth, fast in the range where it is legal and very refined. It is saving me over £250 a month on diesel and costing around £1=2 a day on electric. Combined with reduced benefit in kind, zero road tax 8 year 100000mile battery warranty it will save me £12000 in fuel alone in 4 years
Batteries will be recycled and I forsee a new secondary market for old batteries, they can easily store a days electricity for most houses enabling off peak purchase, this will mean power stations will run continually at their most efficient and so the grid, or store solar power generated locally in summer.
As the amount of petrol and diesel sold falls the number of fuel stations will reduce dramatically or the cost will have to increase to cover costs of running them. For most people commuting to work and local driving the range of these new vehicles is such that charge points are just not needed other than at home.
The problems at the moment are a lack of standardization, charging connectors currently 4 types, reduces the number of compatible chargers on long journeys, also there are so many different charging providers that it s currently not simply a matter of pulling up to a point and using it unless you have the right App, Rifid card or what ever which is a total nonsense, it is a bit like only being able to use BP garages on one card and Shell with another, frankly I dont care who provides the electric I just want to be able to access it. One card I have had to be organised in advance for a trip to Birmingham from Exeter, it was free and the electric was free but it costs £20 a month after six months but the closest pint is 100miles away! So I had to send it back after 5 months, why not charge for the electric used and drop the standing charge!
Of course the contra to all this is we will probably see road pricing as just taxing electricity will be unfair on those consumers without a car and the loss of fuel duty is immense! Towing however is going to be a real issue, electric lorries are incredibly expensive, this might be sorted with fuel cells however, especially if hydrogen was available at services for them...but that is another problem!

bodywork    on 2 August 2017

You know, ever since the dawn of mankind, and particularly with the advent of the Industrial Revolution people every where resist or sabotage, (with I should add perfectly sound and logical arguments, ) any change, always with the perceived notion, it's impossible, the country can't afford it, to many obstacles to overcome, etc, etc, and on itt goes. Well, I hear this now in all this correspondence, I know these are only people's opinions, and this is only mine, but history shows us that with hindsight, the bigger picture always occurred. I believe we may be witnessing the start of the decline in the internal combustion engine, and the slow dawning of a new era, some of the choices a number of contributors have made seem illogical to me, they seem to assume there will be a choice, THERE WONT, the products won't be available, and in view of the present and future considerations over pollution and it's detrimental effect on health, change, big time, is inevitable.

sixcylinder    on 9 September 2017

You know, ever since the dawn of mankind, and particularly with the advent of the Industrial Revolution people every where resist or sabotage, (with I should add perfectly sound and logical arguments, ) any change, always with the perceived notion, it's impossible, the country can't afford it, to many obstacles to overcome, etc, etc, and on itt goes. Well, I hear this now in all this correspondence, I know these are only people's opinions, and this is only mine, but history shows us that with hindsight, the bigger picture always occurred. I believe we may be witnessing the start of the decline in the internal combustion engine, and the slow dawning of a new era, some of the choices a number of contributors have made seem illogical to me, they seem to assume there will be a choice, THERE WONT, the products won't be available, and in view of the present and future considerations over pollution and it's detrimental effect on health, change, big time, is inevitable.

Detrimental effect on health? Listen to a BBC podcast from last November where they looked in detail at the 40000 premature deaths always quoted coming from internal combustion engine pollution. They came up with the following conclusions; if someone today had NOT been subject to pollution in the past (i.e. already affecting their longevity) the estimated effects of current pollution would be a staggering 20 days reduction in life. How are we even capable of measuring this?

The first question that needs to be answered is: what is the definition of premature deaths from motor vehicle pollution? In this context, what does premature mean?

It’s used as a purely emotive term with no definition just to get attention to a low risk situation.

RJP41    on 2 August 2017

I was just speaking today to a friend in the motor trade he has a customer with a Nissan leaf and how great it was to go to the shops etc a short distances,the problem comes when he travels to see his daughter around 100 mile round trip they both live in Kent , he cant do it without having to stop and recharge this must be worse in colder weather with passengers, heater and lights on etc ?.
He has sorted the problem though he has a petrol focus he uses for longer trips.

sixcylinder    on 9 September 2017

Ms Sturgeon is going to ban petrol and diesel in 2032. Bravo. What are they going to use to transport goods around Scotland. Horses and carts?
I note she didn't mention how many power stations would be required to charge all these cars, perhaps she has thought of installing wind farms directly on the Scottish Parliament so they can recuperate all the hot air generated therein?

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