Britain is set to ban the sale of new diesel and petrol cars or vans from 2040 onwards, in an effort to tackle air pollution, the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Michael Gove, reportedly said.

This announcement is part of an overall plan to encourage people in Britain to opt for electric or hybrid cars, instead of the traditional diesel and petrol models.

It is hoped that the electric and hybrid cars would replace the traditional models altogether on British roads by 2050.

Gove’s announcement is similar to a plan revealed by the President of France, Emmanuel Macron, earlier this month.

From 2020, new taxes are expected to be introduced for drivers of diesel cars or vans who use congested routes.

The UK government is allegedly willing to allocate approximately £200 million (€224 million) to local authorities in order for them to restrict the use of diesel cars on polluted roads

It has been reported that councils may be able to implement outright bans of diesel cars in town centres.

Just over 80 major roads have been identified across nearly 20 towns and cities where the UK government believes “urgent action” is required, due to breaches of EU emissions standards.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4, Gove recently said: “We can’t carry on with diesel and petrol cars, not just because of the health problems that they cause, but also because the emissions that they cause would mean that we would accelerate climate change, do damage to our planet and to the next generation.”

It is believed that similar bans will be revealed by other EU countries in the future, with reports suggesting that Norway may have a ban in place by 2030.

Air pollution, both inside and outside the home, causes approximately 40,000 deaths a year in the UK, according to The Guardian.

A report from the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health in the UK reportedly estimated the cost of the damage caused by air pollution to be in the region of £20 billion (€22.4 billion), The Guardian added.