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When will diesel and petrol cars be banned in the UK?

IN FIFTEEN years’ time, motorists will only be able to buy electric or hydrogen propelled cars and vans in the UK.

To tackle air pollution and stop people’s lungs being clogged up with harmful exhaust particles, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is speeding up a ban on petrol, diesel and hybrid vehicles.

Choking our roads - but not for much longer as diesel is on its way out
Choking our roads – but not for much longer as diesel is on its way out
Getty - Contributor

Will diesel and petrol cars be banned in the UK?

Britain will block the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2035 – five years earlier than first planned.

Johnson announced the bringing forward of the ban, while launching a UN climate summit, COP26 climate summit in Glasgow in November 2019.

The Prime Minister declared: “As we set out our plans to hit our ambitious 2050 net zero target across this year, so we shall urge others to join us in pledging net zero emissions,” he said.

Why is the ban happening?

Cities and countries around the world have announced plans to crack down on diesel vehicles in the wake of the 2015 Volkswagen emissions scandal.

‘Dieselgate’ rocked the car industry, after Volkswagen admitted that 11million vehicles were fitted with software which was used to cheat on emissions tests.

The ban is part of the Government’s plan to tackle air pollution, particularly at busy road junctions and ‘hotspots’.

Back in 2017, it said that nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels were breaching legal pollution limits on four per cent of Britain’s major roads, especially in London.

NO2 is released into the atmosphere when fuels are burned, for example petrol or diesel in a car engine.

Evidence shows that high levels damage our health, as the brown gas inflames the airways in our lungs, with asthmatics particularly affected.

Road transport is responsible for about 80 per cent of NO2 concentrations at the roadside.

Boris Johnson, at the Science Museum in London, February 4, announces the accelerated ban
Boris Johnson, at the Science Museum in London, February 4, announces the accelerated ban
Evening Standard

As part of its ‘Road to Zero’ measures, the Government wants to push the take-up of ultra low emission vehicles.

By enabling a “massive expansion of green infrastructure”, it hopes to deliver cleaner air and a better environment, according to the Department for Transport.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps hinted at the acceleration of the new petrol and diesel cars ban last year, to push drivers into buying electric models as soon as possible and help the UK “become a world leader in green technology”.

Can I still drive my diesel car after 2030?

After 2030, diesel and petrol vehicles will be unavailable to buy.

However, you will still be able to drive a petrol or diesel car following the ban in 2030 as the Government’s push for zero emission vehicles only affects new cars registered after 2030.

The Government said that, subject to consultation, it planned to bring forward an end to the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans to 2030, or earlier if a faster transition was possible.

It also said it would now include hybrids – which combine petrol and electric motors – in the proposals.

Diesel and petrol models currently account for 90 per cent of sales in Britain.

But some prospective buyers of greener models are worried about the limited availability of charging points, the range of certain models and the cost.

Ian Plummer, commercial director of Auto Trader, said: “The target is a stretch given where we are today – pure electric vehicles [EV] only accounted for 1.6 per cent of new car sales last year, and even fewer of used.

“That said, consumers do feel ready for the change.

“Appetite and interest is high as environmental concerns play a more influential role in people’s purchasing decisions, but price is still holding many back.

“EVs remain almost double the price of their ICE counterparts, so Government grants and incentives are essential to drive meaningful uptake of EVs.”

What happens to old diesel and petrol cars after 2030?

There is currently no UK-wide scrappage scheme in place for petrol and diesel cars.

People will still be able to buy a second-hand petrol or diesel car in 200 and drive one you currently own.

There could even be a boom in petrol or diesel sales in 2029, as motorists prepare to buy combustion engines for the final time.

Plug-in: more charging points are part of the plan to go greener with transportation
Plug-in: more charging points are part of the plan to go greener with transportation

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