The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has today urged the government to bring forward current plans to ban the sale of new pure diesel and petrol cars and vans from 2040 to 2030 to tackle the nation’s growing air quality health crisis.

The call for action is being discussed at a national air quality summit organised by Khan, attended by city leaders, MPs and environment secretary Michael Gove.

Khan said: “Air pollution is not an isolated problem, it’s a national health crisis. Our country’s filthy air is shortening lives, damaging lungs, and severely impacting on the NHS. That’s why we’re bringing together city leaders from across England and Wales to put this at the top of the agenda. We have to take bold action, but while we’re all doing what we can, we need government support to do even more.

“Banning the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030, providing support to deliver Clean Air Zones in cities and introducing a national vehicle renewal scheme will dramatically improve our air quality and our health. Michael Gove has made a good start as Environment Secretary but we need the government to match our ambition and help us urgently drive forward these improvements. We simply cannot afford to delay.”

The leaders want to play their part in an ambitious national plan for clean air that prioritises action to reduce road transport emissions, provides new powers to tackle other sources of pollution and creates a framework to support partnerships between local, regional and national Government and its agencies, including Highways England and businesses.

This includes:

•A modern Clean Air Act that establishes strong air quality limits standards linked to World Health Organisation recommended guidelines, enforced by a new independent statutory body, with new powers and resources to ensure strong national and local action.

•A targeted national vehicle renewal scheme to replace older polluting vehicles that supports drivers and businesses to change to low-emission vehicles and other sustainable forms of transport, taking special care that those on low incomes and also small businesses are helped to make the shift.

•An enhanced Clean Air Fund open to all towns and cities in England funded by UK Government and motor-vehicle manufacturers. This would provide investment for cleaner buses, taxis and alternatives to car travel walking, cycling and public transport. The cities make this call at the same time as German prosecutors secure a Euro 1 billion fine from Volkswagen.

•As the Government prepares to publish its Road to Zero transport strategy, a call on ministers to commit to phase out sales of new pure diesel and petrol cars and vans by 2030. This would encourage car manufacturers and other businesses to innovate, helping ensure the UK is a world leader in low emission technology. To ensure the roll out of the vital electric vehicle infrastructure needed to support this, cities should have the power to install charge points at petrol stations and private car parks that are publicly accessible.