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  • Air Pollution Solutions: Which Cities Are Banning Vehicles?

Air Pollution Solutions: Which Cities Are Banning Vehicles?

Dec 01 2018 Read 1634 Times

According to a recent report, each vehicle in London’s centre costs the NHS and society around £8,000 in its lifetime. The study concluded that the health impacts from air pollution caused by vehicles costs almost £6 billion a year in health costs for the UK.

But it’s not just London. Cities across the globe have implemented strict vehicle bans to cut down the amount of air pollution in the area. This post takes a look at some of the areas that are making the biggest difference…


Back in 2014, it was reported that pollution levels in Delhi matched those in Beijing, which spurred the city to make drastic changes. They banned all large diesel cars and SUVs with engines larger than 2,000CC and experimented with alternate vehicle banning, depending on license plate numbers.

Recently, the Supreme Court have ruled in favour of the National Green Tribunal and have ordered the seizure of petrol cars older than 15 years, and diesel cars older than 10 years. All vehicles over the age limit will not be allowed to travel in the National Capital Region, with any vehicles violating the order being impounded.


Freiburg has undertaken huge measures to ensure they’re doing all they can to reduce air pollution. The small German city has over 500km of bike routes and offers a cheap and efficient public transport system.

One of the city’s suburbs, Vauban, doesn’t even allow people to park near their homes and charges a whopping €18,000 for a parking space on the edge of the town. Residents are rewarded for living without a car with cheaper housing, free public transport and an abundance of bicycle spaces.


Starting in the 1960s, Copenhagen introduced pedestrian-only zones across the city, now boasting more than 200 miles of bike lanes. Fast forward to today, over half of the city’s population cycle to work every day and the city has one of the lowest percentages of car ownership in Europe.

Copenhagen has also vowed to become entirely carbon-neutral by 2025, opening 11 more bicycle routes by the end of this year.


London planned to trial a pilot scheme in 2018, seeing all petrol and diesel vehicles banned from certain streets. London’s air quality manager, Ruth Calderwood, proposed an ‘ultra-low emission vehicle’ street, allowing only PHEV and electric vehicles.

Currently, the UK capital has a ‘congestion charge’ in place, charging drivers of diesel engines up to £11.50 a day to enter the city. More broadly, Britain also announced in 2017 that they are banning sales of new petrol and diesel cars altogether by 2040.

Improving air quality

The reduction of air pollution is critical for the survival of our planet. Diesel and petrol vehicles are one of the leading contributors to climate change and air pollution, and these city-wide bans can help to significantly reduce our carbon footprint. Another important consideration is where we get our energy from in the first place, as explored in the article ‘Does the Future of UK Gas lie with Biomethane and Shale?’.

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