The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has joined city leaders from England and Wales to call on the government to ban the sale of new diesel and petrol cars and vans by 2030.
The cross-party leaders, representing around 20 million people from towns and cities in England and Wales, urged the government to bring forward current plans to phase out the vehicles from 2040 to 2030 to tackle the growing air quality health crisis.
Currently poor air quality is estimated to contribute to more than 40,000 premature deaths across the country each year, with emissions from cars and vans estimated to cost £6 billion annually to the NHS and society.
But research has shown that the phasing out of petrol and diesel vehicles would lead to a 30 per cent reduction in pollution in 2030, improving health, and potentially boosting the country’s economy by billions by making Britain a global leader in low-emission technology.
The call for action was discussed this week at a national air quality summit in the capital organised by the Mayor of London, the UK100 local government network and the Institute for Public Policy Research.
The city leaders pledged to working together to reduce emissions and tackle pollution for the good of the country. In addition to taking strong action in their own areas, this will include calling for the earlier phasing out of diesel and petrol vehicles, an enhanced Clean Air Fund from government and manufacturers that will 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.
Sadiq Khan said: “Air pollution is not an isolated problem, it’s a national health crisis. 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. We have to take bold action, but while we’re all doing what we can, we need government support to do even more. 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 our 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.”
The leaders – including Mayors and city leaders from Bradford, Bristol, Cardiff, Greater Manchester, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, London, Newcastle, Oxford, Sheffield, Southampton and the West Midlands – say that they want to play their part in an ambitious national plan for clean air that prioritises action to reduce road transport emissions, provides new powers to tackle other sources of pollution and creates a framework to support partnerships between local, regional and national Government and its agencies, including Highways England and businesses.