The city wants to ban cars that cause above-average pollution from the city centre to improve air quality.
The mayor has come to the conclusion that “the Utrecht fleet of cars causes more pollution than the national average.”
Among the cars to be banned from the city centre are diesel-fuelled vehicles older than eight years, and petrol-fuelled cars older than 12.
It is not yet entirely sure the measure will actually be introduced. The mayor will first initiate a public inquiry procedure, a council spokesperson said. “We always listen to the city, that’s a given.” If the plan survives the comments and criticisms of the people of Utrecht, it still has to be adopted by the city council.
It is not yet clear how much the fine for a violation of the ban would be. “It is way too early for that,” the spokesperson said. The ‘environmental zone’ would see a phased introduction from early next year, including a transitional arrangement for inner-city owners of old cars.
A similar plan proposed by Amsterdam in 2008 was never introduced. The Amsterdam plan would have seen all cars built prior to 1992 banned. It met with fierce criticism, among others from then Transport Minister Camiel Eurlings.
© Radio Netherlands Worldwide