The Netherlands could become the first country in the world to ban the sale of diesel and petrol engined cars, if draft laws supported by leading Dutch politicians are enforced.
Earlier this year reports revealed that decision makers in the Netherlands and Norway were in favour of only allowing the sale of zero-emission vehicles in their countries from 2025. Now Yale Climate Connections (YCC) reports that the process in the Netherlands has gained traction, meaning the chances of the law being passed there are becoming increasingly likely.
Leading voice behind the campaign, Jan Vos of the Dutch Labour Party, told YCC that he believed the ban on combustion engined cars couldn’t be rolled out until electric vehicles are affordable and practical. But he reiterated the need to reduce emissions, saying: “We need to phase out CO2 emissions and we need to change our pattern of using fossil fuels if we want to save the Earth.”
The Netherlands has already cemented itself as a leading country in the uptake of zero and low-emission vehicles. Close to a quarter of new car sales are made up of fully electric vehicles, and certain models, such as the BMW 3 Series, have sold in vast numbers as hybrids, with 43% of registrations being for the 330e model.
Compared with the rest of Europe, where just 4% of 3 Series sales are hybrids, and the Netherland’s preference for low-emission vehicles is clear.
The Netherlands joined the International Zero-Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Alliance last year, which aims to make all new vehicles use electric power by the year 2050.
The UK is also a member of the ZEV Alliance and trends here suggest British consumers are also beginning to switch to electric models. The number of plug-in hybrids registered increased from 3,500 cars in 2013 to more than 75,000 so far in 2016 (to the end of July), and demand for electric vehicles was up by 31.8% in the first three months of the year compared with the same period in 2015.
Independent bodies have begun to place pressure on the UK's government to reduce road traffic emissions. The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) has urged London Mayor Sadiq Khan to ban diesel cars from the capital’s centre, stating that road transport accounts for almost 15% of all emissions in London.
Other key countries calling for a ban in the sale of combustion engined cars are Germany and India, which have both suggested laws could be enforced from 2030.