Initially, the UK government announced a diesel and petrol sales ban by 2040. However, some green groups criticised the decision because it did not seem to align with the 2050 net-zero target. This prompted Prime Minister Boris Johnson to move the ban deadline earlier – from 2040 to 2035.
After consulting extensively with carmakers and sellers, the UK government eventually decided to once again change the deadline to an earlier one – 2030. The selling of hybrid vans and cars, however, will continue until 2035.
Funding has already been taken care of, with £1.3 billion going to the charging infrastructure for EV or electric vehicle improvement. Around £582 million will be used for funding or grants that can help reduce EV costs. The mass-scale production of EV batteries is already covered, with a funding of around £500 million and that’s expected to last for four years.
However, reaching the 2030 target may still require a lot of hard work, especially since vehicles with internal combustion engines continue to navigate the UK roads. Only a small percentage (lower than 10%) of the 2020 sales represents battery-operated electric vehicles.
Fast-tracking the ban on diesel and petrol car sales is one of the UK government’s ways of encouraging the population to turn their attention to electric vehicles and support its goal of achieving climate targets and the net-zero campaign that aims to lower the volume of life-threatening emissions by the year 2050.
Campaigners, environmentalists, academics, and scientists continue to hound the government, encouraging them to be more active, ambitious, and committed to improving air quality.
Even if the zero-emissions goal is achieved ahead of schedule, the devastating effects of air pollution and the climate crisis will continue to linger. People will continue to experience their impact on the environment and on human health.
What the government needs to do is focus not only on cutting emissions and banning diesel and petrol sales but also on creating more long-term programs geared towards their zero-emissions goal.
Aside from the UK, two European countries are also set to ban the sales of diesel and petrol vehicles. Denmark’s goal is to end the sale of internal combustion engine vehicles by 2030. Norway, on the other hand, is looking to convert all passenger cars and light vans to zero-emission vehicles by 2025. They are, after all, the world’s leader when it comes to electric vehicle adoption.
Why are vehicle emissions dangerous?
The UK and other countries in Europe are seriously working on their zero-emissions goal because they are aware of the consequences of exposure to vehicle emissions.
What road transport vehicles release is a gas called nitrogen oxide or NOx. Two of its major components are NO or nitric oxide and NO2 or nitrogen dioxide.
NOx is responsible for the formation of acid rain and smog and, when it combines with other compounds, contributes to the creation of ground-level ozone, which harms vegetation, making plants and crops susceptible to frost and damage.
Constant exposure to nitrogen oxide emissions, such as the ones that diesel vehicles release; can lead to several health impacts. Low-level NOx emissions exposure can result in headaches, asthma or aggravated asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, nausea and vomiting, and other respiratory diseases.
If a person is regularly exposed to high-levels of NOx, the effects can be life-changing or life-threatening. The most common health impacts include cardiovascular diseases, increased susceptibility to certain cancers, laryngospasm, a chronic deterioration of lung function, and asphyxiation. Severe cases may also lead to premature death, such as the case of nine-year-old Ella Kissi-Debrah, the UK resident whose death was ruled by the coroner as caused by air pollution.
The poor air quality in the UK and the whole of Europe, including the rise in NOx exposure cases, is the result of the Dieselgate diesel emissions scandal that rocked the automotive industry in September 2015.
Diesel emissions scandal
The diesel emissions scandal started with only one carmaker involved – Volkswagen. US authorities alleged that VW installed illegal defeat devices in diesel vehicles that they sold to consumers in the United States. The devices are intended to cheat emissions testing.
As the months went on, other car manufacturers began getting implicated in the scandal, including another German carmaker, Mercedes-Benz.
The defeat device allegedly found in VW and Mercedes diesel vehicles is programmed to detect when a vehicle is in the lab for emissions testing. Once it determines that the vehicle is being tested, it automatically reduces emissions levels artificially and keeps emissions within the levels set by the World Health Organization (WHO).
However, when the vehicle is driven in real-world driving conditions, it releases voluminous amounts of NOx emissions, often at levels that are in excess of the WHO and EU limits. As such, the vehicle is a heavy pollutant – and carmakers lied to and deceived their customers.
This is why affected car owners are expected to file an emissions claim against their erring carmakers so they can get compensated for all the inconvenience it caused them.
What should I do to file my diesel claim?
First off, you need to have your eligibility verified by ClaimExperts.co.uk. They can help jumpstart your claims process. Working with a panel of emissions solicitors will also be a big help in making the complicated and time-consuming process easier and simpler.