The Government is concerned that motorists were encouraged to buy diesel vehicles under Labour more than a decade ago because of concerns at the time over carbon emissions.
Mr Gove has significantly stripped back previous plans which could have seen restrictions on diesel cars across entire city and town centres. He instead wants councils to focus on reducing emissions on specific roads.
A new analysis found that 48 of the most polluted roads are in London. Others have been identified in Birmingham, Derby, Leeds, Nottingham, Southampton, Bristol, Bolton, Manchester, Bury, Coventry, Newcastle, Sheffield, Belfast, Cardiff and Middlesborough.
The pollution hotspots are predominantly on A-roads but also include stretches of two motorways – the M4 near London and the M32 in Bristol.