Tours of Amsterdam’s red-light district aren’t the only thing the Dutch capital is banning in the future. The city council announced on May 2 that gasoline and diesel-fueled cars and motorcycles will be banned in Amsterdam by 2030 to help ease pollution and clean up the air.
“Pollution often is a silent killer and is one of the greatest health hazards in Amsterdam,” said Sharon Dijksma, the city’s traffic councillor, according to Reuters.
Even though bicycles are a ubiquitous sight around the Netherlands, heavy car traffic in Amsterdam and Rotterdam has lead to air pollution levels in the country that exceed European rules. Current pollution levels don’t necessarily affect the health of short-term visitors, but the Dutch health ministry says that chronic exposure could cause respiratory illnesses that reduce life expectancy of Amsterdam residents by a year.
The plan will begin to roll out next year when all diesel cars built before 2005 will be banned from operating within the A10 ring road that circles Amsterdam. By 2022, public buses that cause pollution will be banned. By 2025, pleasure craft on the city’s famous canals as well as mopeds and other motorbikes that are gas-powered will be restricted from operating within the city. Eventually all vehicles that use engines powered by gasoline and diesel will no longer be allowed into the city by the 2030 deadline.
To incentivize locals to use electric and hydrogen-powered cars, Amsterdam will offer free charging stations and easier access to parking permits to anyone who uses an emissions-free vehicle.
The Rai Association, an automotive industry lobby group, called the plan into question, however, theorizing that many Dutch families will not be able to afford an electric car by the 2030 deadline. Maarten Steinbuch, a professor at the Netherlands’s Eindhoven University of Technology, told a local news station that electric cars are already becoming cheaper, making the plan a possibility within the next 11 years.
Amsterdam isn’t the only European city looking to improve its air quality by restricting certain cars. In April, London implemented new tolls on vehicles that don’t meet specific emissions standards, while Paris is also planning on banning gasoline-powered cars in 2030. Both Rome and Paris will no longer allow diesel vehicles in their city centers by 2024.
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