Paris has followed the lead of Berlin and is instigating a plan to ban the most polluting vehicles from its city streets. The plan, which is said to be increased and tightened every year right up to 2020, will first of all see lorries, buses and coaches built before September 2001 banned from using any streets in the centre, although the legendarily clogged Peripherique will still be open to them.
This summer, cars registered before December 31st 1996 and vans and light trucks registered before September 30th 1997 will also be in the city’s cross-hairs. The Paris mayor’s office has confirmed that by 2020 that cutoff date will have rolled right up to 2011.
Diesel power is high on the city's list of complaints, with Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo reportedly saying that even the latest sophisticated diesels with particulate traps can't be cleaned up entirely.
However, where there is stick, there is also carrot. The French government is expected to introduce a massive scrimmage scheme which would see €10,000 given to those trading in an old diesel car for a new electric one. Such a move can surely not be coincidental with the fact that Renault has invested so much in the creation of an electric car line-up.
The government will also raise the tax levied on diesel fuel as a way of pushing buyers into the new ranges of petrol engined cars which have higher Co2 emissions but are much cleaner when it comes to gases and particulate soot that affects local air quality.