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Europe gets tough on emissions

Environmental triumph: Paris has previously suffered serious air quality problems, but a new ban on older cars is set to permanently improve pollution levels in the French capital.

France and Norway introduce drastic new measures to slash combustion pollution

6 Jun 2016

FROM July 1, cars built before 1997 will be banned from Parisian roads as part of a tough new strategy to cut emissions in France's capital, while Norway is reportedly considering even harsher measures and a ban of all combustion power by 2025.

According to French publication Le Monde the Paris ban will apply on weekdays and between the hours of 8:00am and 8:00pm, while motorcycles prevented from using the roads if they were registered before 1999.

The new legislation will be changed again in 2020 to cover vehicles made before 2010 and road users who flout the law risk being hit by a fine of up to €450 ($A695).

The ban follows previous emissions-reducing trials by the Parisian council that were put into place to counter a significant spike in pollution levels during the winter of 2014. Temporary blanket bans and more targeted hot-spot bans had a positive impact on the city's air quality, prompting the government to make the permanent changes.

In the north of the continent, Norway is reportedly preparing the ground for its own assault on emissions which, if authorised, will see sales of all combustion-powered vehicles end in 2025.

A report by Norwegian publication Dagens Naeringsliv says that parties at both ends of the political spectrum have reached an agreement that “will remove all gasoline cars” although official confirmation of the target is yet to surface.

On hearing the report, the Tesla electric vehicle-maker founder Elon Musk was understandably excited.

“Just heard that Norway will ban new sales of fuel cars in 2025,” he said in a social media post. “What an amazingly awesome country.” Norway's progressive approach to alternative energy and environmentally conscious policy means Tesla's range of zero-emissions vehicles are well received, with 4039 examples of the Model S finding homes in 2015 – a sizable chunk of the 150,000 new-car total.

Car shoppers in Norway are offered generous electric car incentives such as purchase tax exemption, free public parking, toll exception and drivers are authorised to share dedicated bus lanes.

Meanwhile, in the opposite hemisphere, Australia's government continues to largely sit on its hands when it comes to green car incentives and alternative energy infrastructure.

Australians looking to kick the fossil fuel habit are offered no encouragement from the government, while the establishment of local charging infrastructure has been largely down to supportive car-manufacturers.

Tesla has recently completed its network of Supercharge points which allow Model S owners (as well as the imminent Model X and Model 3) to drive from Melbourne to Sydney without so-called range anxiety.

Last year Hyundai commissioned Australia's only hydrogen refuelling station at its company headquarters in Sydney.

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