Car-free Milan after PM pollution

October 26, 2011

The Italian city of Milan was totally car-free for 10 hours on 9 October because pollution had exceeded permitted levels for 12 consecutive days.

[mailchimp_signup][/mailchimp_signup]According to the Italian press, around 120 000 vehicles were affected by the ban, which started at 0800 and ended at 1800. Certain groups of high-emissions vehicles were banned three days earlier. A similar all-traffic ban happened in February.

Milan is one of the most polluted cities in Europe, and the city council introduced a local law in 2007 that allowed for a total car ban if particulate matter exceeds 50 micrograms per cubic metre of air for 12 successive days. Under EU rules, cities are only allowed 35 days per year in which particulate matter’s concentrations exceed 50 micrograms per cubic metre.

Environmental groups have mixed feelings about the ban. While it is welcomed as an incentive to keep pollution levels low, many say the long-term solution lies in improving the city’s public transport so fewer residents want to use their cars.

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