Amsterdam has joined the growing list of cities that plan to eventually completely ban diesel and electric cars. As the first step of the city’s anti-pollution drive, it has been announced that diesel cars which are older than 15 years will be banned from next year. According to city authorities, atmospheric pollution is reducing the average lifespan of the city’s residents by about one year.
From 2030, Amsterdam plans to ban use of cars and motorbikes running on petrol or diesel. The council of the city plans to phase in these changes on a gradual basis so that the residents have a chance to adapt.
While making the announcement regarding this decision, the councillor responsible for the city’s traffic, Sharon Dijksma said that pollution is often a silent killer and has proved to be one of the greatest health hazards in Amsterdam. From 2020 onwards, diesel cars that are 15 years or older will not be permitted entry within the A10 ring road around Amsterdam. From 2022, public buses and coaches which emit exhaust fumes will not be allowed to enter the city center. By 2025, this ban will extend to the use of pleasure crafts on the canals in Amsterdam, mopeds and light mopeds.
According to Amsterdam municipality’s Clean Air Action plan, all traffic within the built-up area is expected to be emission-free by 2030. Residents will be encouraged to switch to electric and hydrogen cars through the offer of charging stations to every buyer of such a vehicle. It is also expected that the used car market for electric cars will experience a significant upswing in the coming years.
In order to make such targets achievable, the number of charging stations in the city will need to increase form the current 3,000 to about 16,000 to 23,000 charging stations.
The current levels of air pollution in the Netherlands are higher than those permitted by European authorities largely due to the heavy traffic in the major cities of Amsterdam, Maastricht and Rotterdam. This has led to concerns that the incidence of respiratory illnesses is higher due to higher levels of nitrogen dioxide and particle matter emissions.
Amsterdam’s decision to promote a shift to emissions free vehicles has been condemned by the Rai Association, the automotive industry’s lobby group. A spokesman of the association said that such a decision would adversely affect many families who lack the finances to buy an electric car. He said that the association expects at least a third of the vehicles to be electric by 2030. But there would still be people who are unable to afford an electric car as currently, such vehicles have a higher price tag when compared to internal combustion engine powered cars.
In January 2018, the Dutch health council has asked the government to come up with an ambitious strategy to improve air quality in the Netherlands, as it feared that the “blanket of pollution” seen in the country could lead to major health problems across the country.
Many cities across the world including Paris, Madrid and Delhi are planning to implement curbs on diesel and petrol vehicles in the near future. In 2018, Madrid had announced its plans to petrol vehicles which were made before 2000 and diesel vehicles made before 2006. Rome has decided that it would be banning diesel vehicles from gaining access to the city center by 2024.
The Danish government has said it wants to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2030 and hybrid vehicles from 2035
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