London mayor Sadiq Khan has hit out at the government's plan to phase out petrol and diesel cars and said bolder action is required to tackle the problem of air pollution in the capital.
"The government’s air quality plan is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make the air that we all breathe less toxic," said Khan.
"Air pollution contributes to 40,000 premature deaths across the country with more than 9000 in London every year.
"A half-hearted commitment from government simply isn't good enough. They must use this opportunity to take the bold action required now to protect the health of our citizens and to save lives."
The government will today commit to banning the sale of all new petrol and diesel-fuelled vehicles from 2040, in plans mirroring new French clean air policies.
Can't afford to wait
Khan added: "The commitment to phase out sales of new diesel cars is welcome, but Londoners suffering right now simply can't afford to wait until 2040. We need a fully-funded diesel scrappage fund now to get polluting vehicles off our streets immediately, as well as new powers so that cities across the UK can take the action needed to clean up our air.
"Without extra financial support for those who bought polluting vehicles in good faith then any pledge to clean up our air rings hollow.
"I’m doing all I can in London, but we need help from the government. The health of millions of people across the UK is dependent on the government showing more ambition in tackling one of the most pressing issues of our time."
London's air pollution problem topped the list of reasons why residents of the city would consider moving away, according to research published earlier this year.