Paris Testing New Anti-Pollution Measures

Paris Testing New  Anti-Pollution MeasuresParis Testing New  Anti-Pollution Measures

Paris will have the chance to try out its new anti-pollution traffic restrictions this week with clear skies and cold weather leading to a heavy presence of fine particles in the capital's air.

Pollution hit a 10-year high in December and the alarm was sounded again in the Paris region and other parts of France this weekend, leading the authorities to order traffic restrictions to start on Monday morning, AFP reported.

Up until now, they have been based on vehicles' license plate numbers, alternating between odd and even numbers, but since Jan. 16 motorists in Paris and 69 surrounding towns should have been displaying a sticker indicating how polluting their cars' emissions are.

The new ban is on the most polluting vehicles—those with diesel engines and those that are over 16 years old—and the sticker should tell police whether a car is in these categories.

The only problem is that most drivers have yet to acquire the stickers.

The authorities say 20-25% of vehicles either have them or will do soon.

But demand has outstripped supply and police have been ordered to take a "pedagogical" approach, warning motorists at first, rather than immediately imposing a fine that will become mandatory later.

A limit on the use of wood-burning stoves will also be reinstated as will a free day's use of Velib (large-scale public bicycle sharing system in Paris) and a free hour for Autolib electric cars.

But public transport will not be free of charge, as it was during previous pollution peaks.

Because of objections by the rightwing-controlled regional council, there will be a fixed one-day charge instead.

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