UK snubs EU call for ban on petrol, diesel cars

The UK has rejected EU proposals for a ban on petrol and diesel cars from city centres by 2050.

According to the European Commission, phasing out "conventionally fuelled" cars from urban areas would cut reliance on oil and help slash carbon emissions by 60 per cent.

However, UK transport minister Norman Baker said transport choices are best left to individual cities and the UK government's involvment in such matters was not required.

The Commission has drawn up plans for a "Single European Transport Area", and has pointed out the need for a "profound shift" in travel patterns to reduce reliance on oil and to cut emissions from transport by 60 per cent by 2050.

To help achieve this objective, the Commission wants half of "middle distance journeys" between cities - above approximately 186 miles - to shift from road to rail.

EU transport commissioner Siim Kallas said the measure coupled with the phasing out of petrol or diesel cars in city centres, need not inconvenience people.