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ENVIRONMENT

French government extends grants to buy greener cars

The French government is extending current incentives for car buyers to go green until next July, Minister of Ecological Transition Barbara Pompili has confirmed.

A light blue Renault Zoe electric car shown front-on at a motor show display stand
Photo by Money Sharma / AFP

The deadline for benefiting from the current level of savings for trading in an older polluting car for a modern hybrid or electric vehicle has been pushed back to July 1st, 2022.

“It is necessary that we change our habits so we no longer depend on the immutable increases of oil,” Pompili said.

The decision comes as motorists across France struggle to keep pace with rising prices at the fuel pumps, with the cost of diesel hitting record highs earlier this month which has already seen a jump in the use of car-sharing services.

READ ALSO Who will get France’s €100 fuel hand-out and how?

The decision to postpone cuts to government aid means buyers can benefit from the means-tested ‘conversion premium’ of up to €5,000 and an ‘ecological bonus’ for buying a low-polluting vehicle set at 27 percent of the total price of the vehicle up to a maximum of €6,000.

Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire had earlier hinted that the ecological bonus, which had been due to drop by €1,000 on January 1st, 2022, would be maintained at its current level.

Pompili did not say whether plans to lower the maximum level of CO2 emissions for a vehicle to 127g/km for a buyer to benefit from the scheme would also be postponed.

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ENVIRONMENT

VIDEO: ‘Lost’ Orca whale heading up France’s Seine river

A young Orca whale that is apparently lost has been spotted heading up the Seine in northern France.

VIDEO: 'Lost' Orca whale heading up France's Seine river

The young whale was first spotted about a week ago near the port of Le Havre, around the Pont de Normandie, while the most recent sighting was further inland – about 20km from Rouen, in the Eure region.

France’s BFMTV managed to catch a video of the whale:

Experts think that the young male was separated from his group, and might be on the search for another. This typically happens when a matriarch in the pod dies.

“They are very social animals, so it is not easy for them to be alone,” explained Delphine Eloi of the GECC regional, cetacean protection group to RTL. Eloi went on to explain that the orca is likely in poor health, as its dorsal fin appears to be completely round. 

Killer whales, which despite their name belong to the dolphin family, are occasionally spotted in the English Channel but such sightings are considered rare, let alone in a river.

“Its life is in danger. We are really very, very worried. Its state of health is very poor,” said Gerard Mauger, vice president of the GECC regional, cetacean protection group. 

“The more it stays in fresh water, the more this will accelerate the degradation of its state of health,” he told AFP.

“It is far from the sea. It is really complicated to find solutions to encourage it to head to salt water.”

He said the animal is “very thin” but likely weighs over a tonne.

Experts have reminded the public that the whale is likely not dangerous to people – there has never been a reported Orca attack on a human in the wild – though it is still advisable to keep a safe distance from it.

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