Local councils are responsible for deciding whether or not to introduce ‘environmental zones’ within their boundaries, not national government, infrastructure minister Melanie Schultz said on Friday.
The minister was responding to Thursday’s vote in parliament in which a majority of MPs backed cancelling the so-called environmental zones.
Utrecht introduced a city centre ban on cars and vans manufactured more than 15 years ago in May and Rotterdam is introducing a similar ban on January 1.
The motion to cancel the bans came from the ruling VVD which considers them to be expensive and a waste of time. The Socialists, Christian Democrats, fundamentalist Christian SGP and anti-immigration PVV all voted in favour of lifting the ban.
Utrecht city council says the ban on older cars will reduce the amount of sooty emissions by 30% a year.
Schultz told reporters on Friday that she is not in favour of a ban on old cars but that councils are responsible for reducing air pollution. ‘It is up to them how they do this,’ she said.
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