Diesel and petrol car ban: Plan for 2040 unravels as 10 new power stations needed to cope with electric revolution

Plans to ban the sale of new diesel and petrol cars by 2040 in a bid to encourage people to buy electric vehicles are a “tall order” and will place unprecedented strain on the National Grid, motoring experts have warned.

Michael Gove, the Environment Secretary, has warned that Britain “can’t carry on” with petrol and diesel cars because of the damage that they are doing to people’s health and the planet. “There is no alternative to embracing new technology,” he said.

However the AA warned that the National Grid would be under pressure to “cope with a mass switch-on after the evening rush hour”, while Which? Car magazine warned that electric cars are currently more expensive and less practical.

 

National Grid predicts Britain will become increasingly reliant on imported electricity, which will rise from around 10 per cent of total electricity to around one third, raising questions about energy security.

Just 4 per cent of new car sales are for electric vehicles, and concerns have also been raised about whether Britain will have enough charging points for the new generation of cars.
Diesel drivers on congested roads in towns and cities across the UK face new pollution taxes and could also be barred from travelling at rush hour.

Ministers have identified 81 major roads in 17 towns and cities where urgent action is required because they are in breach of EU emissions standards, putting people’s health at risk.

The air quality strategy urges local authorities to first try to reduce emissions by retrofitting the most polluting diesel vehicles, changing road layouts and removing speed humps.

However it concedes that as a last resort councils will be allowed to impose tough restrictions on the most polluting diesel vehicles as soon as 2020 to bring down the levels of harmful nitrogen dioxide emissions.

The Government will also commit to banning the sale of all new diesel and petrol cars by 2040 in a bid to encourage people to switch to electric and hybrid vehicles.

Michael Gove, the Environment Secretary, is expected to warn local authorities against “unfairly penalising” drivers by imposing pollution taxes and other restrictions on diesel drivers.

Mr Gove suggested on Wednesday morning that more wind farms may be needed to meet the Government’s ambition.

A new analysis found that 48 of the most polluted roads are in London. Others have been identified in Birmingham, Derby, Leeds, Nottingham, Southampton, Bristol, Bolton, Manchester, Bury, Coventry, Newcastle, Sheffield, Belfast, Cardiff and Middlesborough.

The pollution hotspots are predominantly on A-roads but also include stretches of two motorways – the M4 near London and the M32 in Bristol.
 Other options which are expected to be put forward include better sequencing of traffic lights to ensure that drivers will keep arriving at green lights rather than red ones if they drive within the speed limit.

Ministers will provide an extra £255m to help councils implement their plans, which could come into force as soon as 2020.

The number of diesel vehicles on Britain’s roads has risen from 3.2m in 2000 to more than 10m today after the Labour Government slashed fuel duty on diesel cars in a drive to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

It has since emerged that diesel vehicles emit harmful nitrogen dioxide, which can raise the risk of strokes, heart attacks and asthma attacks.

Senior Labour figures including Sir David King, who served as Tony Blair’s chief scientific adviser, have since admitted that they were “wrong” to promote diesel cars.

Other proposals are expected to include “real driving emissions” vehicle tests in the wake of the Volkswagen emission scandal and encouraging the public sector to buy cleaner vehicles.

Ministers also want to crackdown on parents who leave their engine running during the school run. Councils have introduced on-the-spot fines of up to £80 in a bid to crackdown on the practice.

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