Anger at Paris pollution plans

Mayor unveils scheme to ban polluting vehicles from French capital - but not everyone is impressed by the proposals

9 February 2015

HUNDREDS of motorcyclists ignored a police ban and took to the streets of Paris yesterday to protest against plans to stop motorbikes made before 2000 using the city's streets - and there are plans to repeat the rally in front of City Hall today.

Describing the plans as “pure nonsense”, the French Federation of Angry Bikers (FFMC), which has organised both protests said in a statement that, “because of their low fuel consumption, reduced size, mobility and shorter journey times, they are a solution to the congestion of urban traffic and of value in the fight against pollution.

“While other European cities have, quite logically, not included motorised two-wheeled vehicles in any restrictions, the city of Paris still wants to penalise users whose negative impact in terms of pollution is marginal,” it added.

The ban on older motorbikes is part of a raft of pollution-busting proposals that were due to be put before the capital’s elected officials today.

The proposals include bans on:

Coaches, buses and HGVs registered before September 30, 2001
Passenger cars registered before December 31, 1996
Vans and light trucks registered before September 30, 1997

The first stage of the restrictions on vehicles in Paris will come into force on July 1 this year, when coaches and lorries that are 14 years old or more will be banned from the capita;. In July 2016, passenger cars and light commercial vehicles that have been on the roads for more than 20 years will also be barred.

The first two stages of the restrictions are expected to affect an estimated 165,000 older vehicles.

By 2020, private cars registered after 2011 and motorbikes registered after July 2015 will be the only private vehicles allowed to drive around the streets of Paris, Christophe Najdovski, the city’s deputy mayor with responsibility for transport, said.

The plans were not due to be put to a vote, but will come into effect via an order from the Prefecture de Police and under plans that are already part of the “energy transition” law to create a low-emission zone in Paris.

“We are determined to act quickly,” Ms Hidalgo told Le Monde. “Fine particles emitted mostly by public buses and coaches are a major health concern.”

“It is true that older diesel vehicles are more polluting than modern ones,” she said. “But the filters in even the latest models can’t get rid of the most dangerous fine particles.”

Elected officials will vote on aspects of the plan which includes interest-free loans for new vehicles, building more electric charging stations and cutting parking fees for “greener vehicles”.

Bikers are not the only ones upset by Mayor Anne Hidalgo’s wide-ranging scheme to cut choking pollution in the French capital - but only within the boundaries of the Périphérique .

MPs representing areas outside the Peripherique have complained that the plans favour Parisians over other residents of the capital’s suburbs and the rest of the Ile-de-France.

“Parisians have unparalleled ways to find an alternative to the car - trains, RER, bus, tram, taxis, bikes, Vélib'… for many on the other side of the Peripherique the only alternative to the car is to walk," said socialist MP for Seine-et-Marne Olivier Faure.

The Drivers’ Defence League, meanwhile, branded the plans “autophobic”, and said that it would lead to three-million vehicles being scrapped.

Also read: Plan for 16,000 charging stations

52 towns unveil diesel ban plan

Paris air ‘like passive smoking’

Photo: Falcon Photography

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