Not to be left behind after the French government announced a plan to ban the sales of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040, the UK government has announced that it's planning a similar move. Initial reports outlined the ban to include everything with an internal combustion engine, but it's been clarified that hybrids and plug-in hybrids will not be affected.

The aim to move fast-track the changeover to electrified cars and vans has been disclosed in a paper published by the UK government's DEFRA, or the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. The 2.7 billion pound plan is based on the need to improve air quality in Britain, as Autocar reports.

As 2040 is only 23 short years away, moving up from 2017's roughly four percent electrified car sales to 100 percent will take serious planning and work, and it is sure to affect all car and engine manufacturers situated in Britain, let alone carmakers importing cars there. Only yesterday did BMW announce that it will not only electrify all its model lines, but that it will produce the electric version of the MINI hatchback in the UK.

There is some leeway built into the plan, as possibly resulting improvements in air quality levels would enable re-introduction of non-electrified vehicles on the UK market. Autocar quotes a government spokesman as saying that poor air quality is the biggest environmental risk to public health in the UK, as 40,000 yearly premature deaths are linked to poor air quality.

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