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How Danish cities could introduce no-diesel car zones

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How Danish cities could introduce no-diesel car zones
Traffic in Copenhagen. Photo: Sofie Mathiassen/Ritzau Scanpix
10:16 CEST+02:00
Mayors in Denmark’s largest cities want municipalities across the country to be given the option of introducing special environmental zones for traffic.

Municipal leaders from the four largest cities in Denmark want to ensure cleaner air in urban areas, and the suggestion has been welcomed by environment minister Lea Wermelin, Politiken and Ritzau report.

The mayors are proposing the government allows initiatives including the option of banning older diesel vehicles from designated ‘environment zones’ in cities.

“This is not a war against cars, but a war against health-hazardous emissions from diesel cars,” Copenhagen’s lord mayor Frank Jensen said in a press statement.

“That’s why we have to start placing environmental standards on cars that are driven in our cities, initially for the most polluting diesel cars,” Jensen added.

The proposal for environmental demands on cars in cities has been made jointly by city mayors in Aarhus, Odense, Aalborg and Copenhagen.

One element of the proposal calls for diesel cars produced before 2012 to be banned in the four cities from 2022.

That would be extended in 2025 to cars produced prior to September 2016.

“I’m pleased we have mayors who are concerned with reducing air pollution,” Wermelin said.

“We know that thousands of Danes die too early because there is too much air pollution, particularly in the largest cities,” she continued.

“That is why it’s important for us to do more than we are doing today, and I am looking forward to discussing the specific proposals with municipalities and, as such, with parliamentary parties in regard to how we move forward,” the minister said.

Autobranchen Danmark, an industry organization representing car dealerships and workshops, said it backed measures to improve the environment.

The organization noted that both car traders and consumers should be given enough time to make necessary adjustments in order to comply with new rules.

“That is only fair, so that (traders and customers) know how the economy in garages and car dealerships is going to develop,” Autobranchen Danmark CEO Gitte Seeberg said.

Wermelin said she recognizes the need to take private financial situations into consideration.

“We should have strong climate policies, but also smart climate policies,” she said.

“That’s why we must make sure that new rules work while ensuring they don’t have a skewed social impact,” she added.

Current emissions zones in Danish cities apply only to buses and lorries.

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