Britain Proposes Ban On Internal Combustion Vehicles After 2040

 

Back in the old days when cars had carburetors and the exhaust fumes from the car ahead of you were so strong you could smell them, people who wanted an early exit from the rigors of life would simply roll down the garage door, start the engine, and go peacefully to their eternal rest, thanks to the toxic stew spewing out of the tailpipe of their internal combustion powered car. Now 50 years later, people are beginning to realize that civilization has been doing pretty much the same thing to itself but on a more gradual basis.

air pollution from cars with internal combustion engines

After much controversy and travails in the British courts over the past several months, the government of Britain has finally unveiled a plan to address the problem, a plan that includes an outright ban on the sale of cars and light duty trucks with internal combustion engines after the year 2040. Earlier this month, France announced a similar proposal that also takes effect in 2040.

“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,” a government spokesman said. “That is why we are providing councils with new funding to accelerate development of local plans, as part of an ambitious £3 billion program to clean up dirty air around our roads.”

The plan will target areas in which air quality is already below EU standards in hopes of turning them into so-called “clean air zones.” The money would go toward retrofitting or replacing diesel buses and altering roadways to reduce congestion. The timing of traffic lights will be altered to promote the smoother flow of traffic. Special levies similar to London’s T Charge — which assess up to 10,000 of the cities oldest and dirtiest vehicles an extra fee of £10 a day — may be implemented in other parts of the country.

A scrappge plan similar to the infamous Cash For Clunkers program in the US may be part of the mix as well.  A spokesperson for the City of London said, “We need to look at the full details but what Londoners suffering from the terrible health impacts of air pollution desperately need is a fully-funded diesel scrappage fund – and they need it right now.”

Prof David Bailey, an automotive industry expert at Aston University, said: “The time scale involved here is sufficiently long-term to be taken seriously. If enacted it would send a very clear signal to manufacturers and consumers of the direction of travel and may accelerate a transition to electric cars.” The final plan is due to be announced before the end of the year.

ClientEarth, a public interest group that has been challenging the government in the courts , gave a cautious welcome to the announcement but said ministers must take immediate action to tackle the UK’s air pollution crisis. “The government has trumpeted some promising measures with its air quality plans, but we need to see the detail,” said CEO James Thornton. “A clear policy to move people towards cleaner vehicles by banning the sale of petrol and diesel cars and vans after 2040 is welcome, as is more funding for local authorities. However, the law says ministers must bring down illegal levels of air pollution as soon as possible, so any measures announced in this plan must be focused on doing that.”

Areeba Hamid, clean air campaigner at Greenpeace, said: “The high court was clear that the government must bring down toxic air pollution in the UK in the shortest possible time. This plan is still miles away from that. The government cannot shy away any longer from the issue of diesel cars clogging up and polluting our cities and must now provide real solutions, not just gimmicks. That means proper clean air zones and funding to support local authorities to tackle illegal and unsafe pollution.”

Source: The Guardian





About the Author

I have been a car nut since the days when Rob Walker and Henry N. Manney, III graced the pages of Road & Track. Today, I use my trusty Miata for TSD rallies and occasional track days at Lime Rock and Watkins Glen. If it moves on wheels, I'm interested in it. Please follow me on Google + and Twitter.
  • IPV7

    BWHAHAHAA.. 2040. I believe that’s 23 years from now if my math is correct. The question you have to ask who the hell would be driving an ICE in 10 years from now never mind in 23 years time.

    • Steve Hanley

      You ask a good question. Still, with over a billion motor vehicles on the road the world over, it is going to take a while before all the ICE cars disappear completely. However, the changeover to electrics does seem to be accelerating.

      When I first started writing these blog posts, I had never seen a Tesla and had only heard a little about the company. Things have change a lot in 4+ years.

      • IPV7

        This is true. I see tesla cars almost every day on the road.

    • trackdaze

      It achieves this telling the car companies to not bother investing in internal combustion particularly past 2032-3.

      The irony is apart from 48v hybridisation we are unlikely to see any improvements in internal combustion from here on in.

    • Epicurus

      Most ICE vehicles sold this year will probably be on the road in 10 years, unfortunately.

  • PeteDisqus321

    This is wonderful news. I will be 65 when this law comes into effect. This means that hopefully by the time I reach 85, I will be able to enjoy a few short years of walking around my city breathing clean air before I kick the bucket.

    • Steve Hanley

      That’s the spirit!

    • IPV7

      It will happen way before the law takes place. The law is a joke. Most people on their own will get rid of their ICE once EV’s become cheaper and have a longer range.

  • Antony Berretti

    Many words have been written on your forum Steve over this issue of reducing the number of ICE engined vehicles globally in relation to current stock on our roads. The announcement yesterday here in UK was not a surprise and is generating a lot of news in the main media outlets such as the BBC which is finally doing justice to the issue. To bring some context to this, more than 20 years ago here and no doubt in other countries, enthusiasts in EV propulsion got together to promote the use of electric drive trains in swaps on production cars and old classics. Other groups such as the Veg Oil promoters of which I was one, similarly promoted alternative fuels as a way to reduce air pollutants and encourage carbon neutrality in transport. We all agreed and I campaigned politically that this was a transition period as electrification of transport was the ultimate aim and complete reduction if possible of all liquid fuels from the transport industry, as a means to better environment for all, but clearly this is not what big corporations want as it interferes with their revenue generating machine. Professor Bailey is way out of touch with time scales as we could be seeing huge swings in buying habits in a very short period of time. This would change the economics of the current climate and force automakers in Europe to switch sooner rather than latter as they compete with each other to capture market share. Batteries and electric charging capacity are easily dealt with over the next decade, what is still to be dealt with is, legislation to protect consumers and support them. Storage is key to supplying the electricity when it is requested as opposed to needed because we as of yet do not have enough data to predict when in the future consumers will develop their habits when charging. Modern cars last longer because of better understanding in corrosion resistance and component stress which means that this will inevitably mean that cars produced over the past decade will survive for 20+ years, i drive one made in 2002 and I can see it going for at least another 4 years as I’ve replaced critical braking and suspension components before they fail. So yes we will see ICE engined vehicles for some decades but eventually New EV cars sold will surpass ICE cars in the next 6 to 8 years here in the UK as consumers see the benefits of electrification.

    • Steve Hanley

      Change seems to take forever getting here, and then one day you turn around and everyone has microwaves and cell phones and you say to yourself, “When did THAT happen?”

      • Antony Berretti

        Remember when we used to watch B & W TV’s then suddenly it had to be colour ……! Sorry English version of….

    • IPV7

      But if you had an alternative to buy an electric car that is same price or cheaper than your ice that will be charged by the solar panles on your roof or the solar panels built into roof tiles why would hold on to the ICE?

      That being said, most people don’t own a car for 20 years. If you are lucky they will keep it for 10 years.

      • Antony Berretti

        I would say you’re right, but it depends where you live in a country and how cold it gets in winter. I live in a part of Scotland that has mild winters so less salt on the roads. Fewer people so low density and fewer cars being recycled by owners as stresses on the car are less than those living in cities. Therefore cars survive better with owners more aware in remote ares the need of private transport and careful to look after that asset…

        • IPV7

          Valid points.

    • Epicurus

      Tell your MP that 2040 is a pathetic goal. The Americans put a man on the moon in less than 10 years after Pres. Kennedy set that goal.

      Tell your MP to support a ban on the sale of new, non-plug-in ICE vehicles in 6 years and on new diesel vehicles in 3 years. That’s a lot easier than going to the moon.

      • Antony Berretti

        Our new MP is a Tory, need I say more….!

        • Epicurus

          Ugh. Do you have single member districts and gerrymandering like the U.S.?

          • Antony Berretti

            I guess he does deny climate change and yes single member area, westminster or who is in power draws the maps for political needs….We’re screwed…

          • Epicurus

            Fight for ranked choice voting with multi-member districts. I doubt you and I will have representation otherwise. No taxation without representation!

          • Epicurus

            There is something wrong psychologically with Tories/conservatives.

  • Epicurus

    “an outright ban on the sale of cars and light duty trucks with internal combustion engines after the year 2040.”

    I presume this means a ban on both new and used ICE vehicle sales.

    How about a ban on the sale of new ICE vehicles in 6 years and on new diesel vehicles in 3 years?

    Put a fire under the manufacturers. Or do they own the politicians like they do in the U.S.?

    • Steve Hanley

      Subsequent reports indicate the ban will not apply to hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles. : – (

      Wait, stop! Put that knife down! You might hurt yourself!!!