Utrecht ban on old diesel cars readied

Residents of Utrecht is getting rid of their old diesel cars. From January 1st these cars will not be allowed to enter the city center.

2,400 Utrecht residents have made use of a scrapping scheme - more than half of the total number of older vehicles that is registered in Utrecht. Utrecht motorists receive an average compensation of 1,500 euro when they bring in their old diesel vehicle for dismantling.

A spokesperson of the municipality says that the peak in the number of applications for the scrapping scheme can not be separated from the environmental zone that will be set in place on January 1st, banning private cars that no longer meet the so-called Euro 3 emission standard from the city center.

In practice the environmental zone means that diesel vehicles older than 15 years are no longer allowed in the city center. According to the city these cars cause 30 times more pollution than the current models.

No fines will be issued for the time being, but a of today motorists will see a notification on matrix signboards above the roads as they enter the city. The system determines how old the cars are that pass the boards through a licence check. Owners of a polluting car will see a "NO" and other motorists will see a "YES".

From January 1st the municipality will start sending warnings to offenders. Fines will be issued starting May next year.