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1ST LEAD Britain launches plan to ban sales of petrol, diesel cars by 2040 By Bill Smith, dpa

By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
London (dpa) - The British government on Wednesday published a plan to ban sales of petrol and diesel-fuelled vehicles by 2040, in a bid to improve air quality by reducing nitrogen dioxide emissions.

"Central to the UK government‘s objective of tackling NO2 and carbon emissions is its ambition for Britain to lead the world in electric vehicle technology and use," it said.

"The government will end the sale of all conventional petrol and diesel cars by 2040."

It will promote the use of hybrid and electric vehicle technology, encourage development of public transport, and aim to make cycling and walking "the natural choice for short journeys or as part of a longer journey" by 2040.

The publication follows months of consultations on how to "reduce the impact of diesel vehicles, and accelerate the move to cleaner transport," Prime Minister Theresa May‘s Conservative government said.

Britain‘s High Court ordered the government to produce a plan following a legal challenge by environmental groups.

The government promised to spend some 2.7 billion pounds (3.5 billion dollars) on improving air quality, plus 255 million pounds for local authorities to tackle diesel emissions.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove said the plan forms part of a "comprehensive clean air strategy," to be published next year, to address all forms of air pollution.

Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas called the plan a "welcome start" but said the government needs an "urgent plan to cut air pollution now" through a network of clean air zones, funded schemes for the scrappage of diesel vehicles, and more investment in public transport.

Britain urgently needs a "paradigm shift to people-centred cities," Lucas said on Twitter.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, which represents Britain‘s automotive industry, urged the government not to impose a complete ban on diesel engines.

"Currently, demand for alternatively fuelled vehicles is growing but still at a very low level, as consumers have concerns over affordability, range and charging points," Mike Hawes, the group‘s chief executive, said in a statement.

"Outright bans risk undermining the current market for new cars and our sector, which supports over 800,000 jobs across the UK, so the industry instead wants a positive approach which gives consumers incentives to purchase these cars," Hawes said.

Greenpeace UK campaigner Areeba Hamid said the cut-off date of 2040 was "far too late."

"Car manufacturers like Volvo have announced their intention to move away from petrol and diesel by the end of this decade," Hamid said.

"Germany, India, the Netherlands and Norway are all considering bans by 2030 or sooner," she said.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan also said residents of the British capital "can‘t afford to wait until 2040 for the government to phase out polluting cars."

"We need a fully-funded diesel scrappage fund now to get polluting vehicles off our streets immediately, as well as new powers so that cities across the UK can take the action needed to clean up our air," Khan said in a statement.

Earlier this month, French President Emmanuel Macron published a similar plan to phase out diesel and petrol cars by 2040.


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