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How major cities are tackling vehicle pollution

The high levels of pollution in major cities, the rise of green awareness and the greater knowledge around the topic have led to more and more talks on how to tackle the issue of vehicle emissions. Eventually a ban on both petrol and diesel cars has been proposed. Until then, what are the current strategies being adopted by major cities to reduce vehicle pollution?

Banning of Petrol and Diesel Sales

While all other methods mentioned below are relatively short term fixes, the overall aim is to ban production and sales of diesel and petrol cars altogether. The United Kingdom is currently aiming to do so from 2040, as it is estimated that high levels of pollution are costing Britain up to £2.7bn per annum.

Scotland, on the other hand, has recently announced its pledge to phase out petrol and diesel cars by 2032, way before the UK target. Charging points in Scotland will be much more widespread and the A9 will be a fully electric-enabled road.


London is on its way to introduce a £10 toxic “T-charge” for every week day, which has the potential to rise up to £10,000 if the vehicle used is very high in toxic emissions. The threat of daily fines will result in more and more people buying or leasing electric cars and hybrids to avoid them.

In the United Kingdom, there is also pressure to introduce a countrywide initiative as opposed to one that only concentrates on London, and we are bound to see many changes being applied in the coming years.

Traffic Control

When pollution levels spike, many cities resort to traffic control to lower them quickly and efficiently.

London is one of the leaders in the traffic control arena. The Ultra Low Emission Zone, which comes into force in Sept 2020, will be a “world first”, according to London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan, as it will ban all vehicles not conforming to Euro 4 standards and diesel vehicles not conforming to Euro 6 standards.

Traffic control can vary from restricting certain city zones to be accessible only by public transport and taxis, as it will be applied to the Gran Via in Madrid in the coming years, to having completely traffic-free days, as it is the case with eco-Sundays in Rome.

Public Transport

Making public transport cheaper, more accessible and environmentally safer is an obvious way to tackle the issue. London is investing in more environmentally-friendly buses (73 so far) than any other city in Europe, making 20% of their fleet completely electric.

Paris has recently introduced a ‘pollution ticket’ for the daily price of €3.60 that anybody can use to travel anywhere in the city, encouraging people to use public transport as opposed to their own vehicles.

Sticker System

In order to recognise different car makes, years of production and levels of pollution, many major cities have introduced a sticker system, whereby every car is marked appropriately and is allowed to different parts of the city accordingly. Noticeably, many German cities and also Paris have been adopting this system with relative success. In Germany, cars are marked with green, yellow or red stickers (red being the most polluted) and cars that are considered worse than red in terms of emission ratings are no longer allowed in the city centres.

 In Paris, on the other hand, the stickers indicate the year the vehicle was produced, the level of emissions and the energy efficiency. The year of production on the Parisian stickers is particularly important as some older diesel vehicles are now banned, those that were produced between 1997 and 2000.

Registration Numbers

Spanish and Italian cities (notably Madrid and Rome) have been using the registration numbers method in recent years, whereby residents are restricted to drive in the city when pollution levels are too high. One day cars with odd registration numbers are banned and the next even numbers are.

Some of the methods used by major cities to tackle pollution, caused by vehicle emissions are not long term solutions, however, they clearly show a massive step in the right direction when it comes to environmental progress.

At TFS Vehicle Leasing we are very passionate about the future of the car industry, contact us for more information on our cheap car leasing deals and information on the latest hybrid and electric cars available.

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Posted on 11th September 2017 at 6:40 PM

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