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Stockholm city council has drawn up plans to ban diesel and gas cars from its downtown commercial area.
The aim is to reduce pollution, but some opposition politicians think the strategy will make life difficult for residents. The Swedish capital plans to introduce a new ban on gasoline and diesel cars from the downtown commercial area in 2025.
The measure will cover a 20-block section of the city, already adorned with parks, extensive bike lanes, and spacious sidewalks. This area comprises various shops, pedestrian walkways, and some residential buildings. The aim is to combat pollution, decrease noise, and promote the use of electric vehicles.
The idea is to create an “environmental zone” where only electric vehicles will be allowed. There will be some exceptions, such as for emergency vehicles and transportation for the disabled.
Many European capitals have restrictions on gasoline and diesel cars, but Lars Strömgren, the city council member in charge of the Swedish capital’s transportation, says Stockholm’s complete ban would be a first.
Some aren’t convinced things will go smoothly.
Nike Örbrink, from the opposition Christian Democrats, is concerned the plan will hurt businesses and the hotel industry. “I’m really in favor of Stockholm and other capitals taking the lead role in transitioning to more green cities, meanwhile these specific policies do not lead to any positive effects. It only harms local businesses, takes police resources to enforce the ban, and also makes it more difficult for people living in the city and outside of the city that does not have or can’t afford changing vehicle,” she says.
Some local residents welcome the plan. Others don’t think it goes far enough. But for Kerstin Åkerstedt, who lives in the neighborhood, any move toward a greener environment is a win.
“I think it’s a good idea because we are living in the neighborhood and we think the area is a bit polluted even though the traffic is not so bad in this center. But still, I think it’s a good idea because we need to care about the climate for the future generation,” she says.
This article was provided by The Associated Press.