Paris has introduced a ban on vehicles made before 1997, on Friday (1 July) in a bid to tackle air pollution in the French capital.
The ban marks the second stage in Paris’ Air Quality Action plan, following the restriction of the highest polluting heavy-goods trucks and coaches on 1 September, 2015.
From Friday, cars and vans registered before January 1997 are no longer permitted within the city from Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm. The ban also applies to motorised two-wheelers registered before 1 June, 1999.
Other stages of circulation restrictions are planned between 2017 and 2020, where the most polluting vehicles will be gradually prohibited until “only the vehicles meeting the most demanding pollution criteria in effect will be allowed to circulate in Paris,â€? according to the Air Quality Action Plan Act II.
Parisians who give up their private car are eligible for financial aid to facilitate access to lower cost and more environmentally friendly travel, the Paris Mayor’s office has stated. This will consist of maximum €400, either in the form of a partial reimbursement of an annual subscription to Navigo, a public transport smart card, or Vélib, a bike rental system.
In addition, the City of Paris will offer a 50% discount on annual subscriptions for Autolib, an electric car sharing service, and a credit of €50 (£42) worth of prepaid trips. This would put the compensation at around €500 (£420).
Road traffic causes two thirds of the nitrogen dioxide emissions and 55% of particulate emissions in Paris, according to the Mayor’s office.
There will be traffic controls without sanctions until October, after which penalties will go up to €35 (£29) this year, rising to €68 (£57) in 2017, the Air Quality Action Plan Act II states.
The number of vehicles affected in the summer 2016 stage is only 1% of the fleet that circulates daily within Paris— 4,000 vehicles— and 7% of the vehicles registered in Paris, about 50,000 vehicles. For the light duty vehicles, this is 2% of the fleet (about 7% of the registration numbers), while for two-wheelers it represents about 10,000 vehicles, according to the Action Plan.
The city is also introducing a system of six different “air quality certificateâ€? stickers, to be put on every vehicle, classified from green for the “cleanestâ€? vehicles (electric and gas) to purple, yellow, orange, red and grey for the others.
As decided by local authorities, certificates can be used to apply for financial aid, for the implementation of “limited traffic zonesâ€? or to limit access for most polluting vehicles during peak pollution times.
The stickers can be bought online by entering the vehicle’s registration number, the minister of Environment, Ségolène Royal, announced on 21 June.
The stickers will be mandatory in Paris from 1 January 2017. Paris is the first French city to introduce such a system.
Christophe Najdovski, Deputy Mayor in charge of Transport, Roads, Travel and Public Space, commented in the Air Quality Action Plan: “The effects of pollutants on health are well known: 42,000 premature deaths per year, one Parisian out of two is exposed to nitrogen dioxide levels superior to the acceptable limit, all the people from the Ile-de-France Region breathe an air polluted with PM2.5 particles beyond the World Health Organisation’s recommendations and the financial cost related to atmospheric pollution are evaluated at 100 billion euros a year in France.
“From the beginning of our mandate, Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris, and I insisted on the need to act: in February 2015, Paris City Council unanimously voted an unprecedented plan for Air quality, combined with an ambitious investment programme about non-polluting ways of transport.â€?