The Irish prime minister has pledged to ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars within the country from 2030, in a move that he said will help to make the Republic of Ireland “healthy and great again”.
Leo Varadkar said during a speech at Smock Alley Theatre in Dublin that banning car tailpipe emissions, as well as the use of peat and coal in power stations, would help to make Ireland “a leader in climate action”.
If enforced, his 2030 combustion-engined car ban would be enforced a decade before a similar ban takes place in the UK. It's not yet known if Varadkar’s ban would exclude hybrid cars, like the UK ban will.
Varadkar said the harsh action would come as part of plans to make Ireland sustainable. He said such a move would require “profound changes in how we live our lives" that "will only be possible with the support of communities and individuals”.
Varadkar’s comments come in the same week that British mayors from several leading cities met the UK’s environment secretary, Michael Gove, to propose moving the 2040 ban on pure petrol and diesel vehicles forward by 10 years.
“Air pollution isn't an isolated problem, it’s a national health crisis,” mayor of London Sadiq Khan said. “Our country’s filthy air is shortening lives, damaging lungs and severely impacting on the NHS.”
Gove recently introduced a new clean air strategy that outlined plans to reduce particulate emissions from vehicle brakes and tyres. However, the strategy refrained from tightening plans introduced in 2017 that included the 2040 petrol and diesel car ban.