cars in heavy traffic

Clean air victory following new government target

The government's 10-point plan to tackle climate breakdown demonstrates the impact of people power. Find out how community campaigning helped influence the plan.
  Published:  18 Nov 2020    |      Last updated:  05 Sep 2022    |      1 minute read

On 17 November 2020, the UK government announced 10 measures it'll adopt to tackle the climate emergency, kickstart a "green industrial revolution", and "build back better" from the pandemic. 

There's definitely room for improvement within the plan, but among those 10 points is one fantastic victory: an end to the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030.

The government had previously set a date of 2040 to ban such vehicles, but after years of campaigning alongside green organisations and our grassroots network, we're thrilled to see that a more ambitious target for vehicles has been agreed.

Our campaigner Muna Suleiman says:

"Transport is the UK's biggest source of carbon emissions. Reducing emissions from petrol and diesel vehicles is key to preventing climate breakdown, but also an essential part of the fight against air pollution.

"Air pollution causes (and exacerbates) an array of health conditions. Shockingly, it can leave children with smaller lungs and is responsible for up to 36,000 premature deaths per year in the UK. Like all environmental injustices, it also hits the poorest and most vulnerable the hardest.

"Millions of people are blighted by toxic air, and a key 'ask' during our Clean Air campaign was a commitment on ending the sale of diesel and petrol vans and cars. This is a huge victory for our supporters and community groups up and down the country who have been tirelessly calling for this ambitious action."

While we rightly celebrate this big win for people power, we know there's lots more to be done on transport.

The government is set to host the UN climate summit next year in Glasgow, and it must show leadership and commit to the necessary action to avoid runaway climate breakdown. This includes abandoning new road building under the £27 billion roads programme and properly funding walking, cycling and public transport. 

This year, let’s become true global climate leaders for the sake of people and planet.