Mayors call for 2030 ban on new petrol and diesel vehicles
27 June 2018
Author: Sean Keywood
Regional leaders have argued that the UK Government's proposed ban on sales of conventionally fuelled vehicles should be brought forward to help improve air quality. Sean Keywood reports.
Sales of new petrol and diesel cars and vans should be banned from 2030, according to a group of mayors and city leaders from England and Wales.
The cross-party group, including London Mayor Sadiq Khan, West Midlands Mayor Andy Street, and Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, said the UK Government's previously announced plan to end such sales by 2040 would not be soon enough.
The group has also called for other measures, including an enhanced Clean Air Fund from government and manufacturers to support Clean Air Zones, a targeted national vehicle renewal scheme to replace older polluting vehicles, and a Clean Air Act that sets strict air quality limits.
They argue action is needed to address poor air quality, which is currently estimated to contribute to more than 40,000 premature deaths across the country each year.
They say the phasing out of petrol and diesel vehicles would lead to a 30% reduction in pollution in 2030.
Khan said, "Our country's filthy air is shortening lives, damaging lungs, and severely impacting on the NHS. That's why we're bringing together city leaders from across England and Wales to put this at the top of the agenda.
"Banning the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030, providing support to deliver Clean Air Zones in cities and introducing a national vehicle renewal scheme will dramatically improve our air quality and health.
"Michael Gove has made a good start as environment secretary, but we need the government to match our ambition and help us urgently drive forward these improvements. We simply cannot afford to delay."
Street said, "We need to shift away from diesel as a matter of urgency and I will be an ally for decision-makers, especially those in national government, who seek to find a way to support ordinary people getting newer, cleaner cars to replace their dirty old ones.
"This is also an industrial opportunity - not least for the West Midlands - where we have built cars, trucks and taxis for generations. We need to move to making cleaner vehicles now."
Reacting to the prospect of the new petrol and diesel vehicle ban being brought forward, Paul Holland, chief operating officer at fuel card provider Fleetcor, said the government must not forget the potential impact of such a move on fleets.
He said, "Calls to bring the ban of new sales of diesel and petrol vehicles forward by a decade are indicative of growing momentum to reduce the environmental impact of the existing profile of vehicles across fleet and road transport activities.
"However, it is crucial that the government considers the practical realities of doing so for businesses, particularly when so many rely on a fleet of vehicles for fundamental business operations.
"Fleetcor continues to work with existing providers of alternative fuels, along with exploring other opportunities, but cost, availability, sustainability and supporting infrastructure of such technologies continue to require greater development before alternative fuels can be considered economically and environmentally viable on a broad basis."
Holland said that bearing such difficulties in mind, he was pleased to see the proposal for a scrappage scheme to encourage a carefully managed transition to low-emission vehicles, but added, "This should be seen as just one part of a much wider discussion which needs to be had with a larger number of stakeholders, across different industry sectors about the future and impact of alternative fuel adoption."
Khan's latest intervention on air quality came shortly after he announced that London's forthcoming Ultra-Low Emission Zone will swiftly expand following its introduction in central London in April 2019.
The zone, which will see drivers of petrol cars that do not meet the Euro 4 emissions standard and diesel cars that do not meet the Euro 6 emissions standard charged a fee, will expand out as far as the North and South Circular roads in October 2021.