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The UK’s Liberal Democrats Party, led by Nick Clegg, is proposing to ban petrol and diesel-powered passenger cars on English roads by 2040, allowing only electric and hybrid vehicles to be used.

According to UK reports, the proposal would see the exclusive use of EVs and hybrids on UK arterials with the only exception to the petrol and diesel ban being for freight vehicles.

“By 2040, only ultra low-carbon vehicles will be permitted on UK roads for non-freight purposes,” the document policy is quoted as saying.

“If technology permitted, we would bring forward this date.”

Nissan Leaf

The proposed changes for UK roads – part of the party’s “zero carbon Britain” plan – join plans to introduce a system of road pricing in congested areas, replace air passenger duty with a “per-plane duty, charged in proportion to the carbon emissions created by that journey”, and embracing nuclear power and shale gas exploration.

The road pricing scheme would see the abolishment of the Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) and require motorists to pay a fee for each journey they make. Rates would be calculated by distance and times travelled, vehicle emissions produced and whether a motorist resides in an urban or rural area.

A spokesperson for the UK’s Automobile Association (AA) told one publication the plans to ban petrol and diesel cars were premature and should only be made when the uptake of ultra low- or zero-CO2 vehicles shows signs of significant growth.

“Setting a date now in the absence of hard data about what the implications would be is risky,” the spokesperson said.

“We believe hybrids and ELVs will increase in numbers but not to the point where they will be dominant by 2040.

“If this policy reaches fruition too early it will consign many perfectly good and clean cars by today’s standard to an early grave and that would be wrong.”

Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell

The proposal is to be voted on by members of the party at the Liberal Democrats autumn conference in Glasgow on September 14-18.

At the 2010 elections, the Liberal Democrats joined a coalition government with the Conservative Party, with Clegg becoming Deputy Prime Minister alongside Prime Minister David Cameron.