The sale of new diesel and petrol cars will be banned in the UK from 2040 as part of a clean air policy that the UK government will adopt.

According to news reports, a high court deadline forced the UK government to publish guidelines which will favour electric cars and herald the beginning of the end of the internal combustion engine (ICE) in the UK.

A £255m fund will be provided to councils to tackle emissions from diesel vehicles, as part of a £3bn package of spending on air quality measures, reported the BBC.

On the Today programme, UK environment secretary Michael Gove said that the government was tasking councils to come up with an ‘imaginative solution’, while not ruling out the possibility of charging drivers of certain types of vehicles.

Germany has previously committed to banning the ICE by 2030; France by 2040.

The plans will not currently include a scrappage scheme for diesel or petrol cars.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes told the BBC: “Currently demand for alternatively fuelled vehicles is growing but still at a very low level.

“The industry instead wants a positive approach which gives consumers incentives to purchase these cars. We could undermine the UK’s successful automotive sector if we don’t allow enough time for the industry to adjust.”