New Diesel and Petrol Car Sales to Stop in UK by 2030

In November 2020, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson made an important announcement in relation to the UK’s plan to ban new diesel and petrol vehicle sales. Instead of the original 2040, Johnson scheduled the cutoff for the sale to 2030. This new target date is part of a 10-point plan for several green initiatives.

In February 2020, the prime minister initially scheduled the sale ban for 2035. The latest move is intended to encourage the shift to EVs or electric vehicles and help the UK move closer to its goal of achieving net zero emissions by the year 2050. 

For hybrid vehicles, authorities are sticking to the original plan of a sale ban by 2035. Hybrid cars are typically powered by traditional motors and electric batteries.

The UK government decided on the 2030 target after conducting extensive consultations with carmakers and car sellers. 

Funding for the program has also been set, with £1.3 billion set aside for the improvement of charging infrastructures for electric vehicles, £582 million is allotted for grants that can help reduce EV costs, and £500 (over the next four years) will go to EV batteries development and mass-scale production.


Although the UK’s 10-point plan has already been set in motion, achieving the ban and net zero emissions can be quite challenging considering that most of the vehicles in the UK are still powered by combustion engines. 

Additionally, only about 10% of the total car sales in 2020 were battery electric vehicles. The supply chain is another challenge, particularly in terms of charging infrastructures, which may not be efficient and sufficient enough for EV drivers. 

The UK is not the only country that has set its sights on a future with zero emissions. Denmark has targeted 2030 as their schedule for stopping the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles. The world leader in adopting EVs, Norway, is set to start selling only zero-emission passenger cars and light vans by 2025.

Why emissions are dangerous

The UK and all other countries aiming to achieve zero emissions understand the dangers of vehicle emissions – particularly diesel vehicle emissions.

What diesel vehicles release is a gas called nitrogen oxide or NOx. Its main components are nitric oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and both have several impacts on the environment and human health. For one, they are responsible for the formation of smog and acid rain. Acid rain has negative impacts on forests, lakes, and the ecosystem in general. 

NO2 also causes respiratory problems, especially when a person breathes in high concentrations of it. 

When NOx reacts with other chemicals, it forms ground-level ozone, which is a pollutant that affects vegetation. It makes crops and plants susceptible to damage from extreme weather conditions, specifically frost. Ground-level ozone also affects a person’s respiratory system negatively.

Exposure to nitrogen oxide emissions can also trigger mental health-related issues, particularly depression and anxiety. There is evidence as well that it can increase the risk for schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders. Children who are constantly exposed to NOx emissions may experience a decline in their cognitive abilities. 

A person constantly exposed to NOx emissions can suffer from health impacts, such as:

  • Aggravated respiratory diseases, such as asthma
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Wheezing and coughing
  • Emphysema
  • Asphyxiation
  • Spasm of the vocal cords
  • Increased risk for certain cancers 
  • Susceptibility to cardiovascular diseases
  • Exacerbated heart and lung conditions symptoms

Regular exposure to nitrogen oxide may also lead to premature death. Studies and reports have proven this time and again. Additionally, early deaths linked to air pollution are increasing in numbers. The first case of premature death caused by toxic emissions is the one of Ella Kissi-Debrah, the nine-year-old whose death was ruled by the coroner as a result of exposure to polluted air.

Defeat devices

Vehicles that are equipped with defeat devices release voluminous amounts of nitrogen oxide. They are heavy pollutants. Such vehicles became common after the Dieselgate scandal broke out in 2015.

The diesel emissions scandal started when the Volkswagen Group was accused by US authorities of using defeat devices in diesel vehicles that they sold to American customers. The devices were found in Audi and VW diesel cars. 

A defeat device can detect when a vehicle is in testing. When it does, the device will artificially reduce emissions levels so these stay within the levels set by the World Health Organization.

When the vehicle is brought out for real-world driving, the device uncaps emissions levels, which then go beyond the limit set by the WHO and EU by several magnitudes, making the vehicle a heavy pollutant. 

Aside from Volkswagen, other car manufacturers were also involved in the scandal, including Mercedes-Benz. The carmakers deceived their customers by marketing the vehicles as clean and safe when in reality, the vehicles emitted heavy NOx gases. 

Mercedes emissions claim

The Mercedes emissions scandal affected many customers, most of whom purchased the vehicle using their hard-earned money. To get compensated for all the inconvenience the device has caused, including environmental and health dangers, affected car owners should bring forward Mercedes emissions claims against their carmaker.

It can be challenging, but with the help of a panel of emissions solicitors, things can be easier. The first thing to do, however, is to contact and find out if you are qualified for a claim.

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