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In a response to the Department for Transport’s consultation on the earliest possible date for ending the sale of new petrol, diesel and hybrid cars and vans, the UK Health Alliance has supported the Government’s proposal to bring forward the phaseout date to 2035 at the latest, and urged greater ambition in the form of a 2030 target.

Pollution arising from road transport is currently estimated to cost the NHS over £6 billion per year, although without urgent and large-scale change to the way we travel this cost could reach £18.6 billion a year by 2035.

The Alliance supports the Government’s proposal to bring forward the phaseout date from 2040 to 2035. However, to remain a global leader in climate change, we urge the Government to go further and commit to ending sales of petrol, diesel and hybrid, by 2030.

Committing to the earliest possible date will enable the UK to achieve it’s net-zero carbon emissions target by 2050, and – in the words of the Prime Minister – acknowledge the UK’s historic emissions and “responsibility to our planet to lead in this way”. Furthermore a commitment to 2030 would give the Government an unprecedented opportunity to support people not simply to shift to ‘cleaner’ sedentary modes of travel, but to to switch to active modes of travel such as walking and cycling. Doing so would improve the health of the public and the planet, reduce the pressure on the NHS and support the Government’s recently announced obesity strategy and ‘Better Health’ campaign.