The UK it seems is about to take the same road as its neighbouring country France by banning sales of petrol and diesel vehicles beginning 2040. As reported by The Guardian, the move will help the government solve the nation’s major health concerns particularly those caused by the increasing levels of nitrogen oxide or air pollution. The UK government’s clean air plan is similar to what Nicolas Hulot, France’s environmental minister has announced earlier this month.
A spokesman for the British government explains how poor air quality is considered the biggest environmental threat to public health and is costing the UK about 2.7 billion pounds in productivity loss each year. To immediately resolve the current issue, the UK government has provided councils with new funding for the development of the local initiatives. Part of this 3 billion programme is the clean air plan that aims to clean up the air around Britain’s public roads.
After the sales ban of diesel and petrol cars, the UK government is planning to enforce additional solutions to manage the nation’s air quality. This will include replacing the engines of public transport such as the ones on the buses. In connection to this, many groups have once again expressed their support for the so-called T-Charge in London but it is too early to tell if the councils will be imposing such rules.
In a bid to discourage drivers from using old vehicles that cause air pollution, London Mayor Sadiq Kahn has introduced a pollution charge (T-Charge) back in February this year. As part of this initiative, diesel and petrol vehicles with pre-Euro4 engines will be charged 10 pounds upon entering the city between 7 in the morning to 6 in the evening from Monday until Friday. That is, aside from the existing congestion charge that costs 11.50 pounds.
Meanwhile, France’s own clean air initiative is part of President Emmanuel Macron’s “make the planet great again” effort. Macron longs to make France pollution free by 2050 by offering its citizens an incentive that will help them replace their aging vehicles with something newer and more eco-friendly. The petrol cars bought before 2001 as well as the diesels that came before 1997 are possible candidates for replacement. It didn’t tell how much incentive is entitled for each person but the plan should somehow convince every French citizen to upgrade to a newer model with lower emissions.
As for the UK, it seems not everyone was pleased with this new strategy but it might lead to the transition to electric vehicles at least sometime in the future. Of course, it also helps if the government encourages its citizens to walk or take bicycles instead of cars.