Major cities plan to ban diesel cars by 2020

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Cars sit in traffic on a Bank Holiday weekend (Photo: Mirror)

Plans to ban diesel vehicles from a number of major cities have been unveiled by leaders of major cities on Friday morning. The mayors of Paris, Athens, Madrid and Mexico City came together to discuss the proposed scheme, which aims to take all diesel-fuelled vehicles off the roads by 2025. It has been reported that new incentives will be introduced to promote alternative transport, after research showed limited regulatory and little financial support in the past.

Diesel cars contribute to the toxic Nitrogen Dioxide emissions polluting major cities across the world. New research suggests that politicians’ prioritisation of economic growth and road safety surpass the focus on tackling air pollution in the UK. A report from Greenpeace showed that 4 out of 5 new diesel cars release dangerous levels of the compound, causing 40,000 deaths each year in the UK alone.

Air pollution caused by diesel engines has been heavily criticised by a number of bodies.  Friends of The Earth launched a petition titled ‘Ditch diesel, cut air pollution’

“The UK must phase out diesel vehicles by 2025”

At 1,643 signatures, the organisation stressed the health impacts of the contamination, emphasising that “Children are particularly vulnerable.”

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A chart from the European Economic Area (EEA) shows levels of Nitrogen Dioxide across major cities (Source: BBC)

Similarly, a Greenpeace press release in association with the Institute For Public Policy Research (IPPR) proposed that the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan should “Introduce a charge on all non-zero cars in inner London by 2025.” Furthermore, the organisation insisted the importance of reinvesting revenue from charges in alternative methods of transport.

Campaigners across the UK are calling for action from Khan, who has launched plans to extend the Ultra-Low Emission Zone and implement further charges for the most polluting vehicles in the capital.

“It is time for the UK Government to decide if they want to give our citizens the right to breathe clean air, or continue spending valuable NHS resources on treating heart and lung diseases that could be prevented.” Source: Greenpeace

In response to the criticism of major organisations, the EU has taken actions to tighten emissions regulations. A press release said new Real Driving Emissions (RDE) tests will “determine whether a new car model is allowed to be put on the market.” The Members’ State agreement highlighted the “binding impact” the RDE test will have  on”type-approvals issues.”

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Greenpeace campaigner holding a protest poster in front of a Volkswagen factory (Photo: Independent)

Following the Volkswagen emissions scandal in 2015, many automobile manufacturers have faced backlash with the likes of Mercedez-Benz, Renault and Hyundai. All have launched diesel models in 2016 with NOx emissions surpassing the official lab limit, following a study by Emissions Analytics.

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