UK to lead world in greener motoring

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Indy Lifestyle Online

The world's most radical programme for turning the streets over to green cars will be announced by ministers this week.

The world's most radical programme for turning the streets over to green cars will be announced by ministers this week.

The new strategy – which will go a long way towards meeting one of the key aims of The Independent on Sunday's asthma campaign – will ensure that hundreds of thousands of low-polluting vehicles will be put on the road each year. It could mark the biggest change in driving habits since the invention of the internal combustion engine.

Backed by Tony Blair – who believes that it will give UK car plants a competitive edge as the world seeks to clean up motoring – the initiative will combat pollution which causes global warming, asthma and other diseases. It will also boost the development of vehicles running on hydrogen, vegetable oils, electric batteries and ultra-efficient petrol engines.

Ministers will say that, within a decade, one in every 10 of the 2.5 million new cars sold in Britain each year, must emit only 100gm of carbon dioxide for every 100km it travels. At present, the average new car emits 177 gm.

The strategy will also include a target to make 20 per cent of buses at least 30 per cent more efficient by then.

The plans are more radical even than those proposed in California, which has led the world in environmentally-friendly transport.

Senior government figures believe the new programme is just a starting point.

Environmentalists and some car manufacturers believe ministers should invest £300m on increasing grants to the public to buy green cars, and should help build a network of hydrogen refuelling stations.

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