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UK plans to stop sale of all diesel, petrol cars from 2040

Rising pollution and poor air quality have prompted the draft legislation.

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The UK government has outlined plans to prevent the sale of all new petrol and diesel cars by 2040.

The draft proposal, as reported by The Guardian, stems from fears that pollution is rising and air quality continues to get worse, which may eventually become a serious risk to public health.

Environmental Secretary Michael Gove is expected to introduce the plans on Wednesday as part of the government's clean air plan.

The clean air plan has been the subject of a court battle, countless discussions, and amendments. While some ministers have been urged to introduce "clean air zones" (CAZ) and charges for motorists, the government insists this would be a last resort -- especially as emissions charges are already in place, to the annoyance of motorists, in London.

"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 told the publication. "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."

The UK government plans to invest £1 billion in low emissions vehicle development and £100 million of the funding will be spent on creating a charging infrastructure for electric vehicles (EVs).

In addition, the plan is expected to include plug-in car and grant schemes to entice consumers over from traditional fossil-fuel vehicles to EVs and hybrid models.

There will also be £290m set aside for retrofitting and money towards low-emission taxis and council grants for air quality projects.

However, some environmental groups have criticized the proposals, saying it does not go far enough to reduce high levels of air pollution.

"The high court was clear that the government must bring down toxic air pollution in the UK in the shortest possible time," Greenpeace campaigner Areeba Hamid told The Guardian. "This plan is still miles away from that."

See also: Renault-Nissan CEO: We will give you an electric vehicle for $8000

The move follows the lead of France, which outlined similar plans to clear its roads of fossil fuel vehicles. Earlier this month, the country's environment minister Nicolas Hulot said the rule change is due to the Paris Agreement, an environmental pact of 195 countries which no longer has the backing of the United States.

France will gradually reduce the sale and advertising of diesel and petrol vehicles, with a look to issue an outright ban on new models by 2040.