Paris drives old cars off the streets in push to improve air quality

kade rechteroever

Vehicles made before January 1997 banned from streets of French capital from 8am to 8pm, Monday to Friday


Paris has banned old cars from its streets in a war on air pollution that environmentalists hope will also drive dirty vehicles from the centres of other European cities.

Air pollution, in large part caused by fine particulate fuel emissions, kills 48,000 people each year in France, about 400,000 in Europe and around 3.7 million worldwide, data published by France’s public health agency this month showed

From Friday, any car registered before 1 January 1997 will be banned from the city’s streets from Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm.

Some owners protested by parking their vehicles near the National Assembly and Champs Elysees avenue to denounce a ban they said would hurt poor people most and slash the resale value of their vehicles.

“I drive 50km per week, I don’t have the means to change vans so I will continue using it, I’ll get fined every week and there you go,” said Marc Martin, who uses his ageing Peugeot van to deliver picture frames to clients.

“And if it goes too far, I’ll close my business, people will lose their jobs, that’s it. What can I say, not much. This law is pathetic.”

Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo said the ban could be extended in 2020 to all combustion-engine cars more than nine years old.

After an initial tolerance period, motorists who flout the ban face fines of €35 (£32), an amount that is set to increase from the end of the year.

Upwards of half a million owners in and around Paris will be hit by the ban, according to a driver defence group, 40 million d’Automobilistes, which is taking legal action to seek financial compensation for drops in the value of now-banned vehicles.

Norway is planning to ban petrol and diesel-fuelled cars from 2025 and several cities in Europe are testing various anti-pollution or anti-congestion measures based on tolls for city centre access or temporary and selective car bans during surges in pollution levels.

The Guardian 02-07-2016