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Northern Ireland should not adopt petrol car sales ban, says Wilson

By Jonathan Bell

Northern Ireland should not adopt the UK Government's ban on the sale of petrol or diesel cars, DUP MP Sammy Wilson has said.

From 2040 the sale of new petrol- or diesel-powered cars will be banned as part of the government's push to tackle air pollution.

However, as environmental rules are a devolved matter, local politicians could take the decision to not adopt the ruling in Northern Ireland.

DUP MP Sammy Wilson said the government had not thought through the legislation which could impact jobs in the car industry.

He told the Belfast Telegraph: "There needs to be consideration to the electricity generated, upgrades to supply to people's homes to meet demand and infrastructure needs to be considered. How many more power stations will be needed?

"Although thank goodness they did not consider a toxic tax, as had been thought they would and there is nothing being introduced immediately."

Mr Wilson said the ban was "totally wrong" given pollution from cars accounted for 11% of the total produced.

"Wood burning stoves actually account for more pollution, but that's not mentioned. And if it is about people's health, why not?," he said.

"This is in response to the green lobby's obsession to stop the burning of fossil fuels. They have waged a war on cars for years and the government has caved in to these green zealots."

Mr Wilson said if it was in the power of local politicians to prevent the ban's adoption in Northern Ireland, then it should be blocked.

"We don't have the same problem as other major GB cities do. The only major congestion point is at the York Street interchange and we will get the money to sort that," he added. 

"I think it is daft to reduce consumer choice and force them to buy electric and all the limitations that brings.  If they want to buy cheaper petrol car they should be free to do so.

"This is about coercion for people to adopt green policies and that is not really what the free market is about."

Mr Wilson said he would be keeping to his motorbike and diesel 4x4 jeep.

"Let people make the decision that suits them. For those that live in the countryside, they'd be mad to buy electric, whereas it may make more sense for those in towns.

"I have a bike and a jeep. It cost me a fortune but it does the job I need it to do. I chose the best vehicle for my needs."

Green Party leader Steven Agnew said the ban was a "modest" but necessary step in the evolution of travel.

"Just like the horse and cart, we will ditch the internal combustion engine," he said.

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