The U.K. government is set to ban new diesel and petrol cars from 2040, following a similar move in France, in a bid to tackle pollution that could mark the end of traditional combustion engine vehicles in Europe.

The government is set to unveil its much-anticipated clean air plan after a protracted legal fight with the country's High Court, the BBC and other media groups reported Wednesday.

The government was ordered by the courts to produce new plans to tackle illegal levels of harmful pollutant nitrogen dioxide when judges agreed with environmental campaigners that previous plans were not sufficient to meet EU pollution limits. The government was given until July 31 to unveil the plans.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove told the BBC Today Programme that the government £200 million ($260 million) to local governments to draw up plans to pollution.

"We can't carry on with diesel and petrol cars," he said. "It's important we all gear up for a significant change which deals not just with the problems to health caused by emissions but the broader problems caused in terms of accelerating climate change."

France in early July declared plans to end the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2040.

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It is a "revolution" but "the conditions are in place," declared France's minister for ecological transition Nicolas Hulot as he announced France's plan to end fossil fueled car sales. "Our own constructors have in their tool kits the means to feed and realize this promise."

France's electric vehicle target - it remains to be seen what legislation will back the goal - is part of a wider effort by new President Emmanuel Macron to push French industry to embrace the possibility of the low carbon economy.

Volvo, also in early July, announced all its models will be either electric or hybrid from 2019.

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The moves come after President Donald Trump announced the U.S. was pulling out of the Paris Climate Change Accord to the shock of many. 

In response the French president spoke directly, and in English, to U.S. citizens telling "all scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs ... who were disappointed by the decision of the United States ... that they will find in France a second home land. Come and work here with us."

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