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25 July, 2024
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Stockholm takes bold move by banning petrol and diesel cars in city center

The pioneering move to combat pollution and noise will begin in 2025

Source: The Guardian

Stockholm has announced plans to become the first big capital city to ban petrol and diesel cars from its center, in an effort to slash pollution and reduce noise.

From 2025, 20 blocks of Stockholm’s inner city area, spanning its finance and main shopping districts, will be restricted to electric vehicle traffic only. A decision on whether to expand the zone will be made in early 2025.

Announcing the plan, Lars Stromgren, the city’s vice-mayor for transport, said: “Nowadays, the air in Stockholm causes babies to have lung conditions and the elderly to die prematurely. We need to eliminate the harmful exhaust gases from petrol and diesel cars. That’s why we are introducing the most ambitious low-emission zone to date.”

A number of cities have introduced – or are introducing – schemes to try to tackle air pollution but Stockholm’s goes further than most. Paris, Athens and Madrid have only banned diesel cars, and London has a charging scheme that covers the most polluting combustion engines.

“Many cities have implemented low-emission zones where high-emission cars are allowed to drive if they pay a charge,” Stromgren was quoted as saying by Air Quality News. “Stockholm’s model is more far-reaching. Petrol and diesel cars are prohibited, period. It is more ‘ultra’ than the ultra-low emission zone of London.

“We have chosen an area where large numbers of cyclists and pedestrians are exposed to unhealthy air on a daily basis. It is also a part of the city that is home to forward-thinking companies that are keen to lead the transition to a more sustainable future.”

There are caveats to the scheme. While it is primarily intended to allow for only fully electric cars, bigger vans with plug-in hybrid engines will also be allowed, and exceptions will be made for ambulances and police cars, as well as cars in which the driver or passenger has a documented disability.

Sweden’s Green party is part of a coalition of leftwing and environmentally focused parties that holds power in Stockholm’s municipal government. The Greens said they hoped the low emission zone would bolster the take-up of electric vehicles.

Transport industry representatives said the plan was too radical. “Since 2010, we have reduced emissions by 34%. But the Green party and their colleagues in the city of Stockholm are now in far too much of a hurry,” the Swedish Confederation of Transport Enterprises said.

Cyprus  |  Sweden  |  environment

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