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No extension for Paris vehicle ban

Ecology minister praises city’s motorists as she announces lifting of restrictions from midnight

THE BAN on vehicles driving in Paris based on their registration plates will not be extended into tomorrow, ecology minister Segolene Royal has announced.

Today’s restrictions on vehicles entering the city expires at midnight, and will not continue tomorrow Ms Royal said early this afternoon due to an “improvement of the situation.” She also welcomed the “citizen behaviour of motorists who understand the necessity of this measure”.

Air quality monitor Airparif has said that pollution levels are expected to be in the range of 40-55 micrograms / m3 tomorrow, but rain forecast for the afternoon should help keep levels down.

Since 5.30am today, some 750 police officers have been mobilised and 100 checkpoints set up across Ile-de-France to ensure the alternating traffic scheme - which banned vehicles with even-numbered registration plates - was properly enforced, imposing on-the-spot fines of €22, rising to €35 if not paid immediately.

Drivers caught in contravention of the restrictions have also been ordered to return to where they set off from, or risk having their vehicle impounded.

At 9am, Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo tweeted that traffic was running at 40% normal levels due to the restrictions, while police reported no major incidents and that the flow of traffic was more “fluid” than normal.

As well as the car ban, public transport has been free again in certain parts of the capital and surrounding towns in an effort to force pollution down by coaxing drivers to give up their cars for a few days.

Similar measures were last implemented on March 17 last year - during a spike in the pollution levels. The only other time the restrictions were imposed was in 1997.

Photo: Martin Cooper

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