(Pocket-lint) - The British Government has announced plans to end all new petrol and diesel car sales from 2040, in a bid to combat rising levels of nitrogen oxide and overall air pollution.

Hybrid vehicles that feature a combustion engine will be banned as well, meaning you'll need to go all-electric, or hydrogen-powered, when buying a new car.

The initial plan is to reduce NO2 levels "at the roadside in the shortest amount of time", but next year, the government will introduce a Clear Air Plan, which will set aside £3bn to tackle the issue of air pollution. It's reported to account for around 40,000 deaths a year in the UK, as well as having a detrimental effect on the environment. 

An analysis of some of Britain's major roads has found that 81 are close to breaching legal limits of NO2, with 33 of those being outside of the London area. Councils in the affected areas will need to produce initial plans to combat the problem within eight months, and deliver their final plans next year. 

These councils will be able to share a pot of £255m, taken from the overall £3bn to help tackle diesel emissions in local areas. Councils will need to bid for funding to make the changes, such as changing traffic light timings to improve traffic flow, removing speed bumps, and fitting pollution-reducing technology to public transport.

Later this year, the government start listening to motorists, businesses and residents to work out ways they can be supported following the changes. These may include scrappage schemes, retrofitting pollution-reducing technology or subsidising car club memberships. 

Environment Secretary Michael Gove said: "Today’s plan sets out how we will work with local authorities to tackle the effects of roadside pollution caused by dirty diesels, in particular nitrogen dioxide."

"This is one element of the government’s £3 billion programme to clean up the air and reduce vehicle emissions."

Writing by Max Langridge.