Cars and motorbikes that run on petrol or diesel will be banned in Amsterdam by 2030, it was announced yesterday (May 3).
The initiative is part of a drive to clean up air pollution, which the authorities blame for shortening the life expectancy of people in the city by a year.
The city’s council plans to phase in the change, with the first coming in next year – when diesel cars that are 15 years or older will be banned from going within the Dutch capital.
As reported by The Guardian, all traffic within the built-up area must be emission free by 2030 under the Clean Air Action Plan.
The councillor responsible for the city’s traffic, Sharon Dijksma, announced the municipality’s decision yesterday.
Pollution often is a silent killer and is one of the greatest health hazards in Amsterdam.
As well as older diesel cars being banned as of next year, public buses and coaches that emit exhaust fumes will no longer be able to enter the city centre from 2022. By 2025, the ban will be extended to pleasure crafts on its waters, mopeds and light mopeds.
Amsterdam will offer charging stations to every buyer of an electric or hydrogen cars in the hope that its residents will be encouraged to switch to the vehicles. As such, it’s hoped the second-hand car market will grow in the near future.
As per The Guardian, there will need to be between 16,000 to 23,000 charging stations by 2025 to make the project doable. As of now, there are only 3,000 in the city.
Air pollution in the Netherlands is worse than European rules permit, largely because of heavy traffic in Amsterdam, Maastricht and Rotterdam. As per the EU Observer, the EU directive on cleaner air for Europe requires member states that have exceeded the emissions limits to come up with air quality plans.
This is ‘so that the exceedance period can be kept as short as possible’. There are concerns that the high levels of nitrogen dioxide and particle matter emissions are causing respiratory illnesses in Amsterdam.
However, some have condemned the new plans with the Rai Association – the automotive industry’s lobby group – calling the plan bizarre and regressive.
A spokesperson for the association said:
Many tens of thousands of families who have no money for an electric car will soon be left out in the cold. That makes Amsterdam a city of the rich.
In 2030, about one third of the cars will be electric, we expect. But there will also be a lot of people who won’t be able to afford that by then.
Last year, the Dutch health council called on the government to devise a strategy to improve air quality in the Netherlands, warning that the ‘blanket of pollution’ would cause major health problems in the country otherwise.
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