8 May 2019 – The Hague

The City of Amsterdam has taken an important measurement in local self-governance in support of sustainability and climate change. Last week the City Council of Amsterdam announced, by Mayor and GPM member Femke Halsema, its initiative to ban all petrol and diesel cars from the city by 2030. This proposal is part of the Clear Air Action Plan and refers to the abolishment of cars, buses, motorbikes, trucks, and boats that are 15 years and older run on diesel.

The plan has been launched based on a concerning rise in pollution within the city of Amsterdam. Due to the heavy traffic in major big cities including Amsterdam, the air pollution in the Netherlands is worse compared to the standard rules in the EU. The surplus of nitrogen dioxide and particle matter emissions in the air are causing respiratory illnesses and on average reduce the life expectancy of Amsterdam citizens by one year.

“We want cleaner air for all Amsterdam residents. Dirty air is still too often a silent killer,” said Deputy Mayor Sharon Dijksma, responsible for traffic and air quality in Amsterdam.
To achieve this goal, the Amsterdam authorities will no longer permit public buses that emit exhaust fumes to enter the city by 2022. The same regulations will affect boats, mopeds and light mopeds by 2025 to make the so called “A10” ring road border emissions free. All the vehicles mentioned above along with cars and trucks will be banned from the city entirely by 2030.

The reactions to the proposal are separated into two camps. According the Rai Association: “Many tens of thousands of families who have no money for an electric car will soon be left out in the cold. That makes Amsterdam a city of the rich.” In contrast, Maarten Steinbuch, professor at the Eindhoven University of Technology argues that Amsterdam should see this plan as a good thing to aim at: “Electric cars are becoming cheaper and are already cheaper than petrol-driven cars to maintain.”

The plan will be debated by the City Council of Amsterdam starting end of May 2019, followed by the six-week term for public comment. It is considered the most impactful and drastic initiative taken by the Dutch capital to date in order to increase clean air and fight against climate change.