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Paris mayor vows to ban coaches and trucks

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Paris mayor vows to ban coaches and trucks
Pollution levels in Paris have been compared to being in a room with eight smokers. Photo: AFP
09:43 CET+01:00
The mayor of Paris has called for a total ban on the most polluting of coaches and trucks in the French capital from July 1st, as she announced her plan to crack down on the city's notoriously dirty air.
Spikes in pollution in Paris have been causing authorities concern for some years now and even forced them to make public transport free for a weekend in March last year.
 
But the city's mayor has vowed to clean up the dirty air once and for all.
 
Anne Hidalgo announced her vision for a cleaner Paris on Tuesday, starting with a ban on the "the coaches and trucks that are the most polluting" from July 1st this year. 
 
She said that by the same time next year, the ban would extend to include all polluting vehicles. 
 
She also wants to double the amount of cycle lanes as part of a €100-million-euro bike development plan, and roll out a system of electric-powered bikes along the same lines as the city's popular velib temporary bike hire network.
 

The velib bike hire has proved popular in Paris. Photo: The Nitpicker/Flickr
 
"As they've already done in 200 European cities, we're going to introduce a 'reduced-emission zone' where we will progressively forbid access to polluting vehicles - diesel vehicles really," she told French newspaper Le Monde. 
 
She said that the particles from the vehicles had become a "major public health issue" and that she was prepared to take a hardline approach.
 
By 2020, Hidalgo plans for a complete ban on diesel in the city as France moves towards a much greener future.
 
"I'm not here for negotiations when it comes to the health of Parisians," she told the paper. 
 
In December last year, the mayor said she wanted the central four arrondissements to become "semi pedestrianized" due to the often gridlocked streets in the area.
 

Pedestrians on Rue de Montorgueil in the second district. Photo: Melina1965/Flickr
 
She called for a ban on any vehicles that didn't belong to local residents, with the exclusion of buses, taxis, emergency vehicles, and delivery vehicles. Her plans will be discussed in the town hall on February 9th.
 
Pollution in Paris has been a hot topic of late, with a November report likening Paris at its worst to being in a 20-square metre room together with eight smokers. 
 
Even though 60 percent of Parisians don't own a car, the high levels of pollution have been put down to extremely heavy traffic, as well as smoke from wood fires in people's homes, and industrial fumes.
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