Off limits

Paris set to ban SUVs

Published: Thursday 15 July 2004

Reduced to a showpiece? oversized sports utility vehicles (suvs) may soon be history in Paris. A resolution passed by the city's council on June 8 proposes implementation of a ban on suvs in the French capital within the next 18 months. The plan now awaits the approval of the city's police chief.

"These vehicles emit almost four times as much carbon dioxide as more environment-friendly cars. Some consume up to 24 litres of fuel per 100 km on an urban traffic cycle. At a time when dwindling oil resources are generating conflicts and price hikes, this is totally irresponsible," read the resolution. Deputy mayor Denis Baupin, who tabled the resolution, said suvs were "polluters, they're space-occupiers, they're dangerous for pedestrians and other road users".

However, any move to ban these vehicles would be limited to restricting their movement on roads. People can't be stopped from buying them. The ban can be imposed by including a clause in the city's next transport and traffic plan, to be adopted in 2005, imposing restrictions on vehicles that do not meet certain environmental requirements.

High pollution levels have become a growing concern in Paris, bringing it close to imposing emergency traffic restrictions. The police had laid down speed limits for many days last year due to the pollution. People have also not forgotten the deaths of 11,000 people, mostly the elderly, in last year's summer heat wave. This was also attributed to high pollution. Recently the city was even considering levying vehicle congestion charges akin to those of London.

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