The European Commission yesterday unveiled its plan for a “Single European Transport Area”, including proposals to phase out “conventionally fueled” cars from urban areas. The EC foresees halving the use of such vehicles in city centers by 2030, and banning them completely by 2050.
But the U.K. government has rejected the proposals, ridiculing the idea that it should dictate transportation choices. “We will not be banning cars from city centres any more than we will be having rectangular bananas,” transport minister Norman Baker said.
The European plan calls for a 40 percent cut in shipping emissions, 40 percent use of low carbon fuels in aviation, and for shifting half of journeys above 186 miles from road to rail. These efforts will contribute to a 60 percent overall cut in carbon emissions, the EC said.
The EC also aims to come close to eliminating deaths by road accidents by 2050, and wants to see freight vehicles in cities become carbon-free by 2030.
Transport commissioner Siim Kallas said the changes don’t have to inconvenience people. “Freedom to travel is a basic right for our citizens,” he said. “Curbing mobility is not an option. Nor is business as usual.”
Picture credit: Mike Knell