City leaders from across England and Wales are calling for the Government to ban the sale of new pure diesel and petrol cars and vans by 2030.
The cross-party leaders, representing around 20 million people from towns and cities, are urging the Government to bring forward the ban, which aims to improve air quality, originally proposed for 2040.
Poor air quality is estimated to contribute to more than 40,000 premature deaths across the country each year.
Research has shown that the phasing out of petrol and diesel vehicles would lead to a 30% reduction in pollution in 2030.
The call for action will be discussed tomorrow (June 20) at a national air quality summit organised by the Mayor of London, UK 100 and IPPR.
The summit will see city leaders, MPs and Environment Secretary Michael Gove discuss plans to improve the country’s air quality.
The city leaders – including mayors and city leaders covering Bradford, Bristol, Cardiff, Greater Manchester, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, London, Newcastle, Oxford, Sheffield, Southampton and the West Midlands – will reiterate their commitment to working together to reduce emissions and tackle pollution.
As well as taking action in their own areas, this will include calling for the earlier phasing out of diesel and petrol vehicles, an enhanced Clean Air Fund from Government and manufacturers to support Clean Air Zones, a targeted national vehicle renewal scheme to replace older polluting vehicles, and a Clean Air Act that sets strict air quality limits.
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, said: “Air pollution is not an isolated problem, it’s a national health crisis.
“That’s why we’re bringing together city leaders from across England and Wales to put this at the top of the agenda.
“We have to take bold action, but while we’re all doing what we can, we need government support to do even more.
“Banning the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030, providing support to deliver Clean Air Zones in cities and introducing a national vehicle renewal scheme will dramatically improve our air quality and our health.”
Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, added: “We have all been too complacent about the public health crisis of people breathing in illegal, polluted air.
“Greater Manchester is ready to break out of that and show the ambition needed to clean up our air. But we can’t do it alone.
“We need to see the same level of ambition from the Government in the form of substantial, up-front investment.
“With my fellow Mayors, I am calling on the Government to fund a fair diesel scrappage scheme and end the sale of new pure diesel and petrol cars and vans ten years earlier than planned by 2030.
“We also need to see major investment in the public transport infrastructure of Northern England if people here are to have an alternative to the car. It is only radical action on this scale that will tackle this problem and save lives.”