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Backlash begins to pollution ruling

Petrol and diesel car ban ‘naive and ill-thought out’

fuel duty cars
Ruling will mean the end of the internal combustion engine

Government plans to ban petrol and and diesel-fuelled cars from 2040 were today labelled “naive and ill-thought out”.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove will announce that all vehicles must be fully electric to tackle air pollution. Westminster will follow the French government which has made a similar commitment. It will also end the sale of new hybrid vehicles.

But the FairFuel UK campaign group said banning new diesel AND petrol car sales by 2040 will cost trillions to consumers and the economy.

“It is inevitable that carbon based fuels will be phased out to favour cleaner fuels, but to do it as a cliff edge in 20 years is naïve and ill thought out,” it said in a statement this morning.

“Better to phase in new fuel technologies to work effectively and be supported, without a target date to terminate diesel and petrol.”

It claims that with several proven solutions to lowering emissions available now, such as retrofitting systems, the Minister has missed an opportunity to solve the emissions issue now, fairly and at little cost.

Quentin Willson, lead spokesman for FairFuelUK said: “So by 2040 no fuel stations no garage repairs no car parts suppliers and 15m diesels scrapped. The cost will be trillions.”

Howard Cox, Founder of the FairFuelUK Plan said: “We have practical proven ways to reduce emissions available now. Why has Michael Gove ignored these in favour of a draconian policy that will hit small businesses and low-income families the hardest?

“The energy supply infrastructure and the National Grid will disintegrate in a breakneck move to nascent electric technology which will guarantee to cripple the economy.”

The shape of things to come

German carmaker BMW has already decided that the next generation of the Mini will be all-electric and will built at its plant in Oxford from 2019.

BMW said: “The company has announced that all brands and model series can be electrified, with a full-electric or plug-in hybrid drivetrain being offered in addition to the combustion engine option. Additional electrified models will be brought to market in the coming years and beyond 2020, the company’s next generation vehicle architecture will enable further fully-electric vehicles.”

The company appears to be maintaining its target for electrified vehicles to account for between 15-25% of sales by 2025.

BMW said the new battery-electric Mini will be a variant of the brand’s core 3 door model. it will be built at the group’s e-mobility centre at Plants Dingolfing and Landshut in Bavaria before being integrated into the car at plant at Oxford.

The electric Mini is long overdue. Not only it’s an ideal segment to electrify, but BMW’s early EV program, the Mini-E (pictured above), was based on the Mini. It led to the BMW i3, but never to an electric Mini for some reason.

Several more all-electric BMW models have been rumoured, such as a 3 Series to compete with the Tesla model 3.

Volvo recently became the first of the volume car makers to announce a phased withdrawal  of the internal combustion engine.

The move is a victory for campaign groups which have fought legal cases to reduce air pollution amid fears that rising levels of nitrogen oxide pose a major risk to public health.

Ministers believe it poses the largest environment risk to public health in the UK, costing up to £2.7bn in lost productivity in one recent year and accounting for 40,000 premature deaths.

Local authorities will be given new funding to accelerate development of local plans, as part of an ambitious £3bn programme to clean up dirty air around our roads.

ClientEarth, the campaign group which has pursued the government through the courts, gave a cautious welcome to the announcement and said ministers must take action now to tackle the UK’s air pollution crisis.

Chief executive James Thornton said: “The government has trumpeted some promising measures with its air quality plans, but we need to see the detail.

“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.”

  • UK car production fell by 13.7% in June compared to the same month last year. It was the third month in a row that output has fallen.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said the UK market was slowing in line with forecasts, following a long period of record growth.

The industry is likely to fall short of its ambition to produce more than two million cars a year by 2020, it said.

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