Photo: Asia Times/Lin Wanxia

British departments of environment and transportation published the UK Plan for Tacking Roadside Nitrogen Dioxide Concentrations on Wednesday, in which they set the year of 2040 for complete ban on petrol and diesel powered cars.

The move comes after France announced earlier this month that they will end sales of petrol and diesel vehicles by the same year, and an announcement by Volvo that they will exclusively manufacture hybrid or fully electric cars starting in 2019.

The UK environment ministry said Wednesday that “air pollution continues to have an unnecessary and avoidable impact on people’s health and evidence shows that poor air quality is the largest environmental risk to public health in the UK, costing the country up to £2.7 billion in lost productivity in 2012.”

“The UK is one of 17 EU countries breaching annual targets for nitrogen dioxide, a problem which has been made worse by the failure of the European testing regime for vehicle emissions.”