Arnhem to ban old diesel cars from city center

The city of Arnhem will ban diesel cars produced before 2004 form the city center by January 1st, 2019 at the latest, the college of mayor and aldermen decided. This decision was met with fierce criticism from the royal Netherlands' automobile club KNAC.

"The air in the city center is too dirty", Arnhem's mobility alderman Geert Ritsema explained, according to De Gelderlander. "Residents of the city center on average live over one year shorter due to the poor air. We have to take our responsibility and act now."

Arnhem estimates that the expansion of the environmental zone to ban diesel cars made before 2004, will affect around 800 cars. This will reduce soot emissions by 17.5 percent and particulate matter emissions by 10 percent, according to the city's calculations. The city reserved 526 thousand euros for the implementation of the environmental zone, and 60 thousand euros per year for enforcing it. In addition to expanding the environmental zone, Arnhem is also working on making its public transport emission free from 2023, according to the newspaper.

Automobile club KNAC is against Arnhem's decision to ban old diesel cars from the city center, Omroep Gelderland reports. Director Peter Staal has serious doubts that this ban will improve air quality. According to him, measurements taken in Antwerp and Utrecht after they imposed similar bans, showed that the air quality did not improve. "It's also a relatively small group of cars", Staal said to the broadcaster. He adds that this will cost the community a lot of money unnecessarily.

Nijmegen is also considering implementing an environmental zone in part of the city. Studies are currently underway and results are expected by the end of the year. "A legitimate traffic decision requires careful consideration of all interests", Nijmegen's environmental alderman Harriet Tiemens said to De Gelderlander. 

A study published by GGD Gelderland-Midden last month raised serious concerns about the air quality in the province. The researches concluded that breathing the Gelderland air is, on average, equal to smoking six cigarettes a day.