Paris to ban coaches, trucks and diesel cars by 2020

PARIS - As part of a plan to reduce high air pollution in Paris, its mayor vowed on Wednesday to impose a total ban on coaches and trucks by July 2015, and diesel by 2020, in the French capital.

The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, revealed the highlights of her anti-pollution plan that she will present on Feb. 9 to the Municipal Council of Paris.

"Coaches and trucks will be banned in the city from July 1st this year," Hidalgo told French daily Le Monde. "The most polluting cars will be banned by 2016." 

Hidalgo added that she plans for a completely diesel free Paris by 2020.

"I'm not here for negotiations when it comes to the health of Parisians... As they have already done in 200 European cities, we are going to introduce a reduced-emission zone where we will progressively forbid access to polluting vehicles - diesel vehicles mainly," she said.

She said that the particles from the vehicles had become a "major public health issue" and that she was prepared to take a hardline approach. 

Hidalgo said that the Paris municipality will also present other, cheaper alternatives such as reducing the price of public transport and providing financial support to those buying electric vehicles.

In March 2014, the French capital and other regions across the country were under maximum pollution alert for several days.

For the first time in two decades, thousands of drivers had to follow an alternate driving days procedure and the government offered free public transportation as well as free parking in order to cut the continuously high levels of air pollution.

Airparif, a French watchdog that monitors air quality, has warned in the past that residents of the French capital suffer from "chronically high levels" of pollutants, such as nitrogen dioxide and particulates.

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