Petrol and diesel cars will be banned from Stockholm’s inner city from 2025, the Swedish city has announced. Covering 20 blocks of the capital’s finance and retail districts, the new rules will mean only electric vehicles can be used there.
The measure is being introduced to lower pollution levels, calm noise and promote electric vehicle use, said Lars Strömgren, a Green city councillor with a remit for transportation, speaking to the Associated Press.
Bans are in the air everywhere
Stockholm’s move comes amid heightened awareness of air and noise pollution and the need to transition away from carbon. It follows a vote last year by the European Parliament in favour of a ban of cars and vans from 2035, forcing automotive manufacturers to sell only zero-emission cars and vans.
Many other cities too are bringing in controls over polluting transportation, including a diesel car ban in Paris, Athens and Madrid, and the Low Emissions Zone in London where drivers of polluting combustion engines are penalised with a charge. Both Amsterdam and Paris are considering anti-pollution schemes of their own and Brussels is banning diesel and petrol cars over a 12-year timetable.
But Stockholm is making a fanfare over a policy it says goes further than most.
“We need to eliminate the harmful exhaust gases from (gasoline) and diesel cars. That’s why we are introducing the most ambitious low-emission zone to date,” Strömgren said.
Stockholm’s model is more far-reaching. Petrol and diesel cars are prohibited, period. It is more ‘ultra’ than the ultra-low emission zone of London.Lars Strömgren, a Green city councillor with a remit for transportation
Apart from some emergency vehicles and transport for those with reduced mobility or special access needs, only electric vehicles will be permitted in the so-called “environmental zone.”
The reaction has been mixed. While some businesses say they are already on the journey to decarbonisation and are effectively driving the change, others are fearful about a negative effect, especially on hotels and commerce.
Acknowledging that the cooperation and support of business leaders and communities is a key part of the switch to greener transportation, Strömgren explained what lay behind Stockholm’s choice of location for its first environmental zone.
“We have chosen an area where large numbers of cyclists and pedestrians are exposed to unhealthy air on a daily basis,” he said. “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 majority progressive and green-oriented council is likely to wave through the regulations in a vote in November and an expansion to the zone could be under consideration as early as 2025.