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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

EU plans to ban all petrol and diesel cars from cities to force drivers to go ‘green’

By Daily Mail Reporter

A more common sight? Electric parking bays would become the norm under the new EU rules

The vast majority of British motorists will be outlaws in their own land under controversial new EU plans to ban petrol and diesel powered cars from cities.

But critics said the latest Brussels blueprint to force people into 'green' cars, slash dependence on oil and tackle climate change, was bamboozling drivers and taking the European Union into "the realms of fantasy".

The European Commission says its plan to drive out 'conventionally fuelled' petrol and diesel cars within 40 years and replace them with 'clean' alternatives such as electric or hydrogen powered vehicles is necessary to save the planet.

It is vital to cut pollution and stop global warming which scientists blame on carbon dioxide (CO2) - the so-called 'greenhouse gas' emitted from car exhausts.

The Commission is calling for a 50 per cent shift away from conventionally fuelled cars in urban areas by 2030, phasing them out altogether in cities by 2050.

Brussels says the aim is also to achieve "essentially CO2-free movement of goods in major urban centres by 2030".

Setting out another major goal, it adds that by 2050 Europe should "move close to zero fatalities in road transport", with an interim target of halving all road casualties by 2020.

Coupled with proposals and targets covering road, rail and air travel, the Commission says its transformation of the European transport system can increase mobility and cut congestion and emissions.

But motoring groups said it smacked of yet another assault on the motorist by authorities using 'green' measures as a smokescreen for more taxes and charges noting:'Drivers don't know whether they're coming or going with environmental measures'.

They also noted wryly that with soaring oil and pump prices and fuel taxes, motorists face being priced off the road anyway.

And Christopher Monckton, transport spokesman for the UK Independence Party' said: "The proposals suggested by Commission take us into the realms of fantasy. They want to ban cars from cities, they want to force everybody onto rail and canals, it is if they have been taken over by the shade of the Victorian engineers.

'They may as well call for an end to wars and large subsidised chocolate cakes for pre-school infants as to make these impossible self aggrandising statements".

But EU Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas defended the green policy drive: "The widely held belief that you need to cut mobility to fight climate change is simply not true.

Riverboats would be encouraged as one of the main alternatives to petrol cars

"Competitive transport systems are vital for Europe's ability to compete in the world, for economic growth, job creation and for people's everyday quality of life."

He insisted: "Curbing mobility is not an option; neither is business as usual. We can break the transport system's dependence on oil without sacrificing its efficiency and compromising mobility. It can be win-win."

He was unveiling plans adopted by the Commission on Monday for a 'Single European Transport Area'.

The measures could "dramatically reduce Europe's dependence on imported oil and cut carbon emissions in transport by 60% by 2050", says the Commission.

Its key goals by 2050 are: no more conventionally fuelled cars in cities; 40% use of low-carbon fuels in aviation; at least a 40% cut in shipping emissions; and a 50% shift of medium distance inter-city passenger and freight journeys from road to rail and water-borne transport.

The document says that by 2050 the majority of medium-distance passenger journeys - those above 186 miles- should be by rail. More than half of road freight travelling that distance or greater should move to rail or boat and up to 30% by 2030.

All core network airports should be connected to the rail network by 2050, with all core seaports "sufficiently connected to the rail freight and, where possible, inland waterway system".

For longer-distance travel, and intercontinental freight, air and sea travel will benefit from "new engines, fuels and traffic management systems (which) will increase efficiency and reduce emissions", says the document.

The use of low-carbon fuels in aviation should reach 40% by 2050, with a complete modernisation of Europe's air traffic control system already achieved by 2020 to deliver the "Single European Sky".

Already crowded transport systems will become even more heavily used and congested

Edmund King, the AA's president said: 'Drivers don't know whether they're coming or going with environmental measures. One minute they're supposed to be cutting CO2 and switch to diesel, the next they get pilloried and taxed for doing just that.

'The reality is that, by 2050, fossil fuel will be so expensive that a new approach to personal mobility will be inevitable. At present, pollution scare tactics are simply a cover for more local taxation.'

But Friends of the Earth's transport campaigner, Richard Dyer, said: ‘Weaning our transport system off its oil addiction is essential to protect people from soaring fuel prices and the planet from climate change.'

The eurosceptic think-tank Open Europe criticised the plan: 'This goes to show the extent of the EU's ambitions to interfere in the UK's national affairs. Banning all petrol-fuelled cars in city centres is an absolutely crazy idea and one that could only have come from unaccountable bureaucrats in the European Commission.'

It added:''The plan also envisages an end to cheap holiday flights from Britain to southern Europe with a target that over 50 per cent of all journeys above 186 miles should be by rail.'



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