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France has already made the move, Germany, India, Holland and Norway too, and now Britain says it will also ban the production of petrol and diesel cars by 2040.
The government is expected to announce the plans on Wednesday in a push towards electric vehicles.
There will be a drive on the budget towards tackling air pollution with a £255m set for council across the UK to deal with the issue, as part of a £3bn plan on improving air quality.
The government is expected to publish a court-mandated clean air strategy on Wednesday and follows various car companies taking further steps towards electric models - the plan is set for July 31.
A government spokesman said: "Poor air quality is the biggest environmental risk to public health in the UK and this government is determined to take strong action in the shortest time possible.
"That is why we're providing councils with new funding to accelerate development of local plans, as part of an ambitious £3bn programme to clean up dirty air around our roads."
The move sees the 150-year reign of the internal combustion engine come to an end, with drivers only being able to purchase electric cars in 23 years' time.
The spokesman continued: "Our plan to deal with dirty diesels will help councils clean up emissions hotspots - often a single road - through common sense measures which do not unfairly penalise ordinary working people.
"Diesel drivers are not to blame and, to help them switch to cleaner vehicles, the Government will consult on a targeted scrappage scheme, one of a number of measures to support motorists affected by local plans."
In addition, local councils will be able to force extra charges on diesel drivers from 2020, if air quality fails to improve.
Levels have been above legal limits in almost 90 percent of urban areas in the UK since 2010.
The move comes after a report last year suggested that there were up to 40,000 premature deaths each year due to excessive indoor and outdoor pollution.
Diesel emission were partly to blame in a study by the Royal Colleges of Physicians and of Paediatrics and Child Health.
Earlier in the month, French environment minister, Nicolas Hulot, announced similar plans, also providing households with financial assistance to swap their polluting cars for cleaner alternatives.
Swedish car manufacturer, Volvo, announced that it will only sell electric or hybrid cars by 2019.
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