Sales of new cars in Britain fell in February for the eleventh month in a row, as demand for diesel vehicles collapsed by almost a quarter, industry data showed today. 

New registrations for vehicles sank 2.8% year-on-year last month to 80,805 cars, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said in a statement.

And the number of newly-purchased diesel-powered cars tanked 23.5% to 37,020, with demand sliding on UK government plans to improve air quality. 

Consumers continued to ditch diesel cars last month for cars that are regarded as more environmentally-friendly. 

February was also a quiet month for car purchases because new registration plates are issued in March, when demand typically increases.

"Although the new car market has dipped, it remains at a good level despite the drop in demand for diesel," said SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes.

"Consumers should be reassured, however, that the latest cars are the cleanest in history and can help address air quality issues," he added.