In an attempt to cut pollution and noise, Stockholm recently announced plans to become the first major capital city to forbid gasoline and diesel cars from entering its downtown.

In 2025, only electric car travel will be permitted inside 20 blocks of Stockholm’s inner city, which includes the city’s major financial and retail sectors. After the beginning of the process, a decision regarding the zone’s expansion will be made.

Lars Stromgren, the city’s vice-mayor for transport, announced the proposal by saying, “These days, the air in Stockholm causes babies to have lung conditions and the elderly to die prematurely.” We must eradicate the toxic emissions caused by petrol and diesel vehicles. That is why we are launching the most ambitious low-emission zone yet.”

Many cities have launched or are launching programmes to try to reduce air pollution, but Stockholm’s goes above and beyond most. Only diesel vehicles are prohibited in Paris, Athens, and Madrid, while London has a charging programme that includes the most environmentally harmful combustion engines.

“Many cities have implemented low-emission zones where high-emission cars can drive if they pay a fee,” Stromgren told Air Quality News. “The Stockholm model is more comprehensive. Petrol and diesel vehicles are strictly prohibited. It is more ‘ultra’ than London’s ultra-low emission zone.

“We have chosen an area where large numbers of cyclists and pedestrians are exposed to unhealthy air on a daily basis. It is also a part of the city that is home to forward-thinking companies that are keen to lead the transition to a more sustainable future.”

The scheme is not without flaws. Larger vans with plug-in hybrid engines will also be permitted, despite the fact that the primary intention is for only completely electric vehicles. Exceptions will be granted for police and ambulance vehicles, as well as vehicles in which the driver or passenger has a verified impairment.

Stockholm’s city government is led by a coalition of left-wing and environmentally conscious parties, including Sweden’s Green party. The Greens expressed their expectation that more people will choose electric vehicles as a result of the low emission zone.

Representatives from the transport sector argued the idea was too drastic. We have cut emissions by 34% since 2010. However, the Swedish Confederation of Transport Enterprises claimed that the Green Party and their allies in the city of Stockholm are currently moving far too quickly.


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