UK rejects radical car ban

 

The
UK has rejected proposals from the EU which call for a ban on petrol and diesel
cars from city centres by 2050.

The
European Commission said phasing out “conventionally fuelled” cars
from urban areas would cut reliance on oil and help cut carbon emissions by 60
per cent.

But
UK Transport Minister Norman Baker said it should not be “involved”
in individual cities’ transport choices.

“We
will not be banning cars from city centres anymore than we will be having
rectangular bananas,” he said.

Outlining plans for a “Single
European Transport Area”, the Commission said there needed to be a “profound shift” in
travel patterns to reduce reliance on oil and to lower emissions from transport
by 60 per cent by 2050.

As
part of this, it wants half of “middle distance journeys” between
cities – above approximately 186 miles – to shift from road to rail.

Commissioner
Siim Kallas said this move, plus the phasing out of petrol or diesel cars in
city centres, need not inconvenience people.

“Freedom
to travel is a basic right for our citizens,” he said. “Curbing
mobility is not an option. Nor is business as usual.”

“The
widely-held belief that you need to cut mobility to fight climate change is
simply not true.

 We can break the transport system’s dependence
on oil without sacrificing its efficiency and compromising mobility.”

Announcing
a series of “challenging” targets, Mr Kallas said there should be a
50 per cent reduction in conventionally-fuelled cars in city centres by 2030,
disappearing altogether 20 years later.

The
Commission also hopes to “move close” to eliminating deaths by road
accidents by 2050, halving current fatality rates by 2020.

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