UK 'to ban diesel and petrol car sales by 2040'

Reports say London to announce that all vehicles must be fully electric as part of a plan to clean up air pollution

BRISTOL, UNITED KINGDOM - FEBRUARY 25:  Congested commuter traffic queue as they pass junction 18 on the M4 motorway at rush hour on February 25, 2010 near Bristol, England. As the UK gears up for one of the most hotly contested general elections in recent history it is expected that that the economy, immigration, the NHS and education are likely to form the basis of many of the debates. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
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Britain's government will announce on Wednesday that it will ban the sale of petrol and diesel-fuelled cars from 2040 when all vehicles must be fully electric as part of a plan to clean up air pollution, according to newspaper reports.

The reported move follows a similar announcement earlier this month by the French government.

No one was immediately available for comment at Britain's environment ministry which was due to make the announcement, according to the reports.

The Times said the sale of new hybrid vehicles that have an electric motor combined with a petrol or diesel engine would also end under the plan.

The government has been under pressure to take measures to reduce air pollution after losing legal cases brought by campaign groups.

Under the proposals due to be announced on Wednesday, local authorities would be able to charge levies on the drivers of the diesel vehicles on the most polluted roads from 2020, if air quality does not improve, The Daily Mail newspaper said.

Separately on Tuesday, the German car maker BMW said it had chosen its plant in Oxford, England as the location to produce an electric Mini from 2019.

Earlier this month, Volvo became the first major traditional car maker to set a date for phasing out vehicles powered solely by the internal combustion engine by saying all its car models launched after 2019 will be electric or hybrids.

Reuters