The mayor of Paris has asked the French government to turn the city and many surrounding areas into a clean air zone in order to avoid being fined by the European Commission for excessive air pollution.
If approved, the measure will create the largest clean air zone in France. It will also drastically change the automotive landscape in Paris by prohibiting passenger cars that are over 17-years old, two-wheelers that are over 10-years old and heavy commercial vehicles that are over 18-years old from entering city limits.
To encourage motorists in Paris to get rid of their older cars, socialist mayor Bertrand Delanoë has asked the government to implement and fund a region-specific cash-for-clunkers program. Lastly, to give motorists an extra incentive to trade up, he has promised to give people who junk an old car a free three-month pass to Auto'Lib, a city-wide electric car sharing program.
Some of Delanoë's opponents have called the proposed measure a "witch hunt" which will penalize low-income households who can't afford to buy a newer car.
"Only three percent of cars in France are over 17-years old," argued Pierre Chasseray, the spokesman for a non-profit association called 40 millions d'automobilistes. "What effect will it really have on air pollution?"
The French government has yet to state its position on the matter. If approved, the ban and the cash-for-clunkers program will both come into effect in the second half of 2014.
Photo by Ronan Glon.