Environment Secretary Michael Gove says the move is part of a plan to get these vehicles off roads altogether by 2050 – with cleaner electric or hybrid cars taking their place.
Under the plan, local councils could bring in charging zones for the dirtiest vehicles.
The Government is going to make £255m available to local authorities so they can restrict diesel car use on polluted roads, improve public transport and change layouts.
From 2020, new pollution taxes will also be levied on diesel drivers who use congested highways – specifically targeting busy roads in major towns and cities, as well as motorways such as the M4 and M32.
The Government has identified 81 major roads in 17 towns and cities where it says urgent action is required because they are in breach of EU emissions standards, putting people’s health at risk.
The new strategy urges local authorities to attempt to reduce emissions at first by fitting the most polluting diesel vehicles with filters, changing road layouts and removing speed humps.
Tough levies on the most polluting diesel vehicles could be imposed as soon as 2020 as a last resort to help bring down the levels of harmful nitrogen dioxide emissions.