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  • Diesel & Petrol Car Ban by 2040: What Does This Mean?
  • 27 July 2017
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    Diesel & Petrol Car Ban by 2040: What Does This Mean?

    No petrol? No Diesel? No speed bumps or red lights?! What does the upcoming scrappage scheme actually mean and what exactly are the Governments upcoming plans.

Recently, the Government has announced an initiative that will result in a ban on the sale of new diesel and petrol cars and vans in the UK from 2040. But, sooner than 2040, we see  an immediate diesel scrappage scheme, a targeted action to take place later this year. Both are part of a much-needed initiative to tackle air pollution.

air pollution over london_1

What is the scrappage scheme?


  • The diesel scrappage scheme has been put forward as another move towards making the country more environmentally friendly. It comes at a time where the motoring industry continues to develop more and more of an environmental conscience. The electric car revolution is upon us, as alternatives to fossil fuels become more and more accessible whilst green initiatives are put into place. One of these initiatives is the diesel scrappage scheme, a move to encourage diesel drivers to switch over to a more environmentally friendly car and/or transmission.


  • The Government will commit to banning the sale of all new diesel and petrol cars by 2040 to encourage the switch to electric and hybrid.


  • The plan initially meant that drivers of the higher emission vehicles would be provided with compensation for switching over to a  more ‘suitable’ car. These amounts were likely to be between £1,000 and £2,000 if you scrap your car and replace it with a low emission model. However, it instead says that the Government will hold a consultation on a “possible” similar scheme in the Autumn.


  • There is an alternative though, scrap your vehicle is not your only option. According to a draft proposal, diesel drivers filters will also be an option and these are, well, exactly what they sound like. They will fit into the existent high emission vehicle and filter the emissions, reduced the Nitrogen Dioxide, the main perpetrator in the toxic and damaging fumes. There is also a plan to consider retrofitting buses, lorries and black cabs as a way of delivering cleaner air. However, it has also been said that councils can impose tougher restrictions on the most polluting vehicles as soon as 2020 to bring down the harmful levels of pollution.


  • What are other steps being taken? This is not the only step being taken to give high emission drivers a nudge in the environmentally friendly direction. Congestion charges, extra parking fees and higher fuel tax are all actions that are being taken to improve the level of toxic emissions being produced.

electric car charge_1


Why is this happening?


  • The document claims that there will be access to clean air zones across multiple cities, something that according to the Royal College of Physicians is very much called for, linking, 40,000 premature deaths every year to air pollution! The number of diesel cars increased from 3.2m to 10m following the Labour Government's fuel duty decrease, but since then it has emerged that diesel vehicles may be better on CO2 but instead emit high emissions of NOx, which can raise the risk of strokes, heart attacks and asthma attacks.  


  • Why? So far, the UK has struggled to keep up with the EU limits on some of their listed pollutants, in particular, the aforementioned Nitrogen Dioxide (NOx) which is linked directly to respiratory diseases is also linked predominantly to diesel engines… Out of the 43 regions being looked at for their level of emissions, 37 were in the breach of their NOx limits! The Government was ordered by the High Court to develop new plans to tackle illegal levels of the NOx pollutant after a legal battle that witnessed judges agreeing with environmental campaigners who said previous plans were not good enough. The Government has identified 81 busy roads in 17 towns and cities where it believes urgent action is necessary, these areas are all identified as breaching the EU emissions standards.


What steps will be taken?


  • Some of the documentation so far indicates that the plan may be looking to remove 15,000 diesel and old petrol cars from the roads. So far, the plan has been met with some outrage, mostly down to the fact that previously there was a government initiative to push people to purchase diesel vehicles. A figure that has increased from 3.2m in 2000 to more than 10m today following this Labour gov initiative.


Senior Labour figure, Sir David King has since admitted that they were “wrong” to promote diesel cars.

petrol pumps_4

  • But, as we move into a more environmentally future, Michael Gove, Environment Secretary is set to reveal the new air quality strategy proposing that all cars on the UK roads should eventually either be electric or hybrid.


  • Councils will be urged to increase traffic flow through tactics that have not been seen before such as:


    • Removing speed bumps! By doing so drivers will no longer be repeatedly slowing down and speeding up, an action which actually more than doubles the number of harmful emissions from the car!


    • Better sequencing of traffic lights, to help drivers arrive at green lights rather than red after red should they be driving within the speed limit.


  • Other proposals are set to include “real driving emissions” vehicle tests, encouraging the public sector to buy cleaner vehicles.


  • There is also an aim to crack down on parents who leave their engine running during the school run!  Councils have already introduced a £80 on the spot fine to combat this practice.   


What problems might arise?


  • The AA has warned that the National Grid would find itself under immense pressure to cope with the emergence of the mass car chargings, especially after the evening rush hour. The National Grid has stated that this could add 30 gigawatts to the current peak and see an increased usage of 50%.

national grid projections_1

  • This means there will be a lot of extra electricity needed, in fact, the extra amount of electricity needed is the equivalent of almost 10 times the total power output of the new Hinkley Point C nuclear power station currently being built in Somerset.


  • Another factor that has been highlighted is how exactly will Britain cope with the increased need in electric? Well, one of the suggestions for this in an increase in the UK’s imported power, increasing it from around 10% to 33%.


Gove has tackled these concerns with the suggestion of more wind farms and nuclear power stations, stating: “There is no alternative to embracing new technology.”

Facts and Figures


  • The below infographic provides an overview of the estimated electric usage and the current British energy capacity.

electric usage_2_1
                                                                                                                                                                 Source: The Telegraph

  • Interestingly, the strategy put forward will insist that any restrictions on diesel cars must be time limited, meaning that, when pollution levels fall into legal limits, restrictions must be lifted in an attempt to “not unfairly penalise ordinary working people”.


  • Overall, there will be a £3bn investment into tackling the effects of road pollution and to support greener transport initiatives. Having lost a case against environmental campaigners ClientEarth over breaches of the EU emission standards the Government have been made to take a different tactic instead of their suggested pollution taxes. Councils will be urged instead to improve the flow of traffic with measures such as getting rid of speed bumps and improving traffic light sequences (see above).


  • Ministers will provide an extra £255m to help councils implement these plans, which are set to come into force as soon as 2020.

I own a Diesel Car, what am I meant to do?

Ministers are promising that help will be made available to those on a lower income or those who are in the position that may result in ditching their vehicle entirely. Some car owners will be offered help to retrofit their vehicle with green technology. This will be discussed this Autumn.

Can this all be trusted after things like the Volkswagen Scandal?

Ministers are also promising a crackdown on car manufacturers caught being dishonest about emission testing. Car manufacturers caught fiddling these figures will face criminal and civil charges with fines of up to £50,000 for every vehicle cheating the system - had these rules been in place prior to Volkswagens scandal they would have faced fines of up to £60bn.


The Diesel Scrappage scheme is set to be announced this Monday.

So, what do you think?


  • Is it right for the sale of new diesel and petrol cars to be banned? And what about the Diesel Scrappage scheme?

yes or no to scrap page scheme_1

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