Big cities won’t meet EU targets on traffic pollution

Five of the Netherlands’ biggest cities will not meet EU targets on nitrogen dioxide by 2015, opening them up to heavy fines and a ban on new building, the Volkskrant reports on Friday.

The aldermen in charge of transport in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht, Arnhem and Eindhoven have written to the transport ministry calling for action to cut pollution levels, the paper says.

Some 70% of nitrogen dioxide in the atmosphere is generated by diesel and the cities say national government action is needed to ensure the volume of nitrogen dioxide in the atmosphere is cut.

‘We can’t ban traffic from our cities,’ Amsterdam’s spokesman Eric Wiebes is quoted as saying. Cities estimate measures they take will only reduce levels by 10%.

New EU limits are due to come into effect in 2015, six years later than orginally planned.

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