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Bike 'scrappage' bonus offered in Germany

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A number of German cities are developing the 'car scrappage' idea by offering subsidies for people to buy new bicycles.

Mannheim became the first city earlier this month, with Witten becoming the second and half a dozen others wanting to introduce their own schemes.

Mannheim made €5000 available to pay 100 people €50 to exchange an old bicycle for a new one, and Witten budgeted €1000 for 20 such incentives.

The move comes at the same time as a demand by the VCD that the government's car scrappage scheme should be extended to allow people to claim the €2500 for trading in an old car for a bicycle or public transport season ticket. 'The government has still not addressed our demand despite 10 300 people signing our on-line petition,' said the VCD's Michael Müller-Görnert.

'ABSURD'

Meanwhile, the Dutch and British have become the latest countries to offer scrappage payments. The British scheme offers buyers 2000 pounds (€2240) if their old car is nine years old, while the Dutch scheme offers buyers €1000 for buying diesel cars fitted with particle filters or petrol cars on the market since 2001.

There are now 11 countries offering some form of scrappage payments, and last month Germany increased its available funds for scrappage payments from €1.5 billion to €5bn because demand is so great.

T&E director Jos Dings said in a letter to the Financial Times newspaper that the scrappage schemes were 'absurd', and governments should scrap subsidies for the car industry, not cars.