Arnhem is set to be the fourth Dutch city to impose a ban on old diesel cars but many other places are considering introducing similar bans and the issue is likely to be key in the local elections.
Arnhem councillors voted on Monday night to ban diesel cars made before 2004 from the city centre and only to allow in those dating from 2005 and 2006 if they meet EU standards.
The ban is set to be introduced in 2019 and follows similar measures in Utrecht, Amsterdam and Rotterdam. Local politicians say that the ban improves air quality in busy city centres.
According to broadcaster NOS, Leiden, Apeldoorn, Nijmegen, Gouda, Dordrecht, Amersfoort and Maastricht are among the other cities where environmental zones could be on the cards.
However, Peter Staal of the motoring lobby group KNAC told the Volkskrant there is no evidence that banning old diesel cars improves air quality. ‘But if you do it, do it on a national level,’ he said.
A spokesman for the transport ministry told the paper that the issue is a matter for local politicians. ‘But it should be clear what the rules are, through a uniform system of signage,’ he said. ‘We are now in talks with local authorities about this.’