The High Court in London ruled that existing government proposals to meet EU-mandated pollution limits were not sufficient, and new plans could not be postponed until after next month's general election.
The draft whitepaper focuses on Clean Air Zones, something Defra has been mooting for a while.
However, it also considers a smaller, more targeted scheme open to drivers of diesel Euro 1-5 cars and drivers of petrol Euro 1-3 cars, with vehicles being replaced with pure electric vehicles (EVs).
The government said it would only approve charging schemes if they are required to ensure "legal compliance within the shortest time possible" and the impacts on local residents and businesses have been fully assessed, including for disadvantaged groups.
The Government has confirmed its view that significant blame for the air quality problem lies with diesel cars.
According the Environment Secretary "all type of mitigation are on the table" in a bid to support these working families, in their attempt to improve air quality.
Charges for entering Clean Air Zones will not be mandatory but certain guidelines have been set to determine who and what vehicles it could affect. We fail to see how the non-charging clean air zones, proposed by the government, will be effective if they don't persuade motorists to stay out of those areas.
Friends of the Earth Scotland said that as a result of the Scottish Government's "foot-dragging on clean air", people will continue to die prematurely from air pollution.
"The Government is consulting on a range of measures that could be taken to mitigate the impact of action to improve air quality".
RAC chief engineer David Bizley said: 'We welcome numerous proposals which have been included in the air quality strategy published today - namely encouraging local authorities to improve traffic flow, giving consideration to replacing speed humps with other means to safely slow vehicles down, a very clear focus on those most polluting vehicles such as buses and taxis, and encouraging the cutting of unnecessary engine idling.
The government's response to the UK's illegal air quality-which is believed to contribute to 40,000-50,000 premature deaths and total costs of £27.5 billion per year-has been interminable. As outlined in the plan, any proposed scrappage scheme would need to be targeted and deliver clear environmental benefits.
The Government were ordered to draw up the new clean air plans following a court challenge by environmental lawyers ClientEarth.
"The astonishing thing is that the government's own plan accepts that diesel is at the root of the problem, and that phasing it out is the most effective solution".
In London, which has some of the worst air pollution in Europe, asthma-sufferer Mayor Sadiq Khan has been pushing for a nationwide diesel scrappage scheme that he says would cost as much as 515 million pounds ($632 million) over two years. "These diesel-run units are disproportionately polluting and local authorities implementing clean air zones should encourage fleet operators to shift to the affordable zero emission units that are already available", he said. The charges will penalise drivers of older diesel engines.
AFP-JIJI-The British government on Friday published long-awaited plans to tackle air pollution, but campaigners condemned them as inadequate to tackle a growing public health concerns.
Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas said the draft plan was "feeble" and failed to go far enough to tackle a "public health emergency".