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UK will ban all gas and diesel vehicles by 2040

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It’s part of the country’s $3 billion plan to curb emissions and help its residents go car-free

cyclist in London Jacques Lebleu/Flickr

Hot on the heels of France’s announcement to ban all gasoline-powered vehicles by 2040, the UK will follow suit, with a plan to end sales of all gas and diesel vehicles by 2040. The move is part of an ambitious transportation initiative meant to both eliminate emissions and reduce car use.

According to The Guardian, the announcement addresses the country’s air pollution, which it claims kills 40,000 people per year. But it will also help the country more quickly achieve the climate goals outlined in the Paris agreement.

The UK’s plan comes with several strategies to help citizens break their fossil-fueled habits. A £3 billion transportation fund (about $3.9 billion) will build new charging stations for electric vehicles, buy new low-emission taxis, and convert bus fleets to carbon-neutral. Almost half the fund (about $1.5 billion) will pay for new walking and biking infrastructure.

London already has a comprehensive congestion pricing scheme that charges private vehicles to enter its densely populated urban center, and a separate program that taxes the oldest and dirtiest vehicles on the road. Similarly, the new UK plan would allow local municipalities to levy fees on cars that drive in designated “clean air zones,” with the money collected helping to fund even more transportation improvements.

The announcement also dovetails nicely with a sweeping strategy recently announced by London Mayor Sadiq Khan to shoo cars from the city’s center. In addition to a new goal for the city to operate a zero-emission public transit system by 2050, a new zero-emission zone for private vehicles will be established by 2025 that will eventually be expanded to encompass the entire city.

Khan also announced benchmarks for success in London: By 2041, the city will reduce car trips by three million each day while increasing the number of people walking, biking or riding transit daily to 80 percent. Right now about two-thirds of Londoners don’t drive cars on a daily basis.