All new petrol and diesel cars and vans are to be banned in Britain from 2040 as a result of growing concerns over illegal levels of nitrogen oxide, which pose a major health risk.
Poor air quality is believed to cost the UK up to £2.7bn in terms of lost productivity in just one year, reported The Guardian.
This move is seen as part of the government’s clean air plan, which involves spending £3bn to improve air quality.
The government plans to unveil a £255m fund to help councils accelerate local measures to deal with pollution from vehicles and draw up plans on those roads that have high pollution levels.
A UK Government spokesman was quoted by The Guardian as saying: “Poor air quality is the biggest environmental risk to public health in the UK and this government is determined to take strong action in the shortest time possible.
“That is why we are providing councils with new funding to accelerate development of local plans, as part of an ambitious £3bn programme to clean-up dirty air around our roads.”
Environmental campaigners claim that the measures the government is promising are a bit late. Environmentalists wanted the government to fund and mandate clean air zones and levy charges on the most-polluting vehicles under the plan.
Following a long legal battle, the court agreed with environmentalists that the government’s earlier plans were not sufficient to meet pollution limits set by the EU. The government was ordered to set out its draft clean air strategy plans in May and the final measures by the end of this month, reported Independent.