Diesel drivers warned of calls to ban fuel 'as soon as possible' and launch more Clean Air Zones

Diesel drivers warned of calls to ban fuel 'as soon as possible' and launch more Clean Air Zones

WARNING: Motorists to see HUGE diesel and petrol price rises

Felix Reeves

By Felix Reeves

Published: 18/04/2024

- 08:46

'The bottom line is we won’t breathe freely until diesel engines are ditched for good'

Sales of diesel have dropped significantly in London compared to the rest of the UK in recent years as experts call for the fuel to be banned for the sake of the environment.

New research from the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ) has found that drivers are not buying as much diesel as in previous years.

Sales have fallen nearly 40 per cent in London over the past four years compared to just 20 per cent in other regions around the UK.

Experts from the campaign group Transport and Environment have linked the drop in diesel sales to the expansion of London's Ultra Low Emission Zone (Ulez).

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Diesel pump

Diesel sales in London have fallen 40 per cent over the last few years


Having originally launched in 2019, Mayor Sadiq Khan and Transport (T&E) for London expanded the zone to cover all of Greater London from August 2023 in a bid to further reduce emissions.

Older petrol and diesel cars are charged £12.50 to travel inside the area every day if the vehicles are not compliant with Euro 4 and Euro 6 rules respectively.

Data from T&E found that Londoners are on course to pay £273million less in diesel costs this year than they did in 2022.

Matt Finch, UK Policy Manager at Transport and Environment, said: "Regardless of the impact of the Ulez on air pollution, this data shows the remarkable impact Clean Air Zones can have on energy and trade.

"Diesel is another dirty fossil fuel that the UK has found itself reliant on imports for, often from countries with undemocratic Governments that have poor human rights records.

"The smart move would be to follow London’s lead, stop burning imported dirty diesel and switch to using clean British electrons as quickly as possible.”

Other major cities across the UK are also introducing emissions-based charging zones including Birmingham, Newcastle and Bristol, with Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow set to begin charging in the coming months.

Transport and Environment are now calling on Sheffield, Liverpool and Greater Manchester to introduce a Clean Air Zone as they all have nitrous oxide emissions that are beyond legal limits.

Oliver Lord, UK Head of Clean Cities Campaign, added: “We’ve known for years that diesel fumes are ruining our lives so it’s inspiring to see this change in London, but the bottom line is we won’t breathe freely until diesel engines are ditched for good.

"With the right commitment, coordination and leadership from all levels of Government our cities can be almost free of diesel by 2030, but only when coupled with the support to make that happen especially for small businesses.”

Similarly, the founder of Mums for Lungs, Jemima Hartshorn, highlighted the negative impacts of diesel, resulting in the UK having some of the highest childhood asthma rates.

She added: "There is no doubt about it: for so many reasons, but primarily for children's health - diesel fumes have got to go and Government at all levels needs to ensure that it is phased out in a fair and equitable way.”


Clean Air Zone

Clean Air Zones have been backed by environmental campaign groups


T&E warned that since the UK is a major importer of diesel, the UK could be at the mercy of fluctuating prices and shortages of supply at any time.

There had been fears that the UK and the rest of Europe would be battered by the Russian invasion of Ukraine with a changing fuel landscape potentially hitting drivers and homeowners in the pocket.

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