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The Press Association: Ban gas guzzlers says ex-Shell boss

Monday 04 February 2008

The former chairman of oil giant Shell said he believes the EU should ban the sale of new cars that do under 35 miles to the gallon.

Sir Mark Moody-Stuart said car manufacturers would adapt to cope with stricter rules.

“When we introduced catalytic converters the car-makers said it would put the price of cars through the roof – but it didn’t. Now we all have to have catalytic converters – that’s only right,” Sir Mark told BBC News.

“We need very tough regulation saying that you can’t drive or build something less than a certain standard. You would be allowed to drive an Aston Martin – but only if it did 50-60mpg.”

He said making people with less fuel-efficient cars pay more in road and fuel tax is not the answer and simply let the rich avoid taking responsibility for tackling climate change.

“When we eliminated coal fires in London we didn’t say to people in Chelsea you can pay a bit more and toast your crumpets in front of an open fire – we said nobody, but nobody, could have an open fire,” he said.

Under the Clean Air Act 1993, local authorities across the UK have the power to designate smoke control areas, in which smoke emissions from homes are banned.

The act replaced earlier laws introduced to deal with the smogs of the 1950s and 1960s which were caused by widespread burning of coal for domestic heating and by industry.

Sir Mark, who is currently chairman of the mining group Anglo American, said his years in industry had taught him that the market would provide solutions if governments demanded them with enough conviction.

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