A majority of the Utrecht city council gave its approval last Thursday evening to introduce the environmental zone for passenger cars. This measure has been approved in an adapted form. All passenger cars with a gasoline engine are also welcome from the 1 January 2015 in the Domstad center. The age limit for diesels (up to and including Euronorm II) was also raised to 15 years and older. The Koninklijke Nederlandsche Automobiel Club is not dissatisfied with this measure and claims that, partly as a result of its efforts, the relaxation has been implemented.
In recent months, the KNAC fought against the introduction of the environmental zone and lobbyed for an advisory (non-binding) referendum. The interest group did not collect enough signatures for that. Nevertheless, the KNAC indicates that there is a clear influence on the adjustments in the initially proposed environmental zone. This was based on the exclusion of petrol cars older than 19 years. Also, according to the initial plan, the diesels of eight years and older were not allowed into the city center. “It is a credit to us. The KNAC initiative caused so much that support for strict rules within the city council has crumbled ”.
Still, points of contention remain for the KNAC. “We are not done yet. First of all, there will be new municipal elections. That is why we continue to lobby against the adoption of the adopted proposal. We are not dissatisfied with the adopted proposal and the changes made to it, but the Green Left in particular is guilty of symbolic politics. Exactly 120 people live in the center of Utrecht who drive a diesel that falls under the category to be excluded. Entering the environmental zone for that now goes very far. It is also sad to note that the Green Left is coming up with measures without calculating the effects thereof. ”Peter Staal - KNAC chairman - also stated that he would not rule out legal action if the new city council in 2014 insists on the introduction of the environmental zone.
The Car Interests Foundation was clear through Wouter van Embden: “A ridiculous measure! Older diesels are not necessarily more polluting than younger ones. ”He calls the age limit of 15 years completely arbitrary. "And moreover," he says, "as long as the municipality itself is the biggest polluter with polluting diesel buses, it has no right to speak."
The VVD was not amused either. The liberals argue that Utrecht actually shows that cars are not welcome. In addition, the VVD disputes a number of other matters. For example, it is said that the effectiveness is low, the air quality is hardly improved, the accessibility and the resulting economic effects are under pressure and that a demolition scheme involves a lot of costs. Furthermore, many motorists do not know whether their diesel from before 2000 meets the Euro II standards. The fine of € 200 for violating the rules regarding the environmental zone is also bad blood. The VVD also stated that “Utrecht is ahead of the troops, because there is no uniform national regulation yet. That sows confusion. ”
The liberals and also various national media points make that point has already been brought to the attention through these columns. That is why we also mention it again: in order to promote flow and mobility and, above all, to keep it clear, the national frameworks must be tightened up. Every municipality can make its own policy within set frameworks. This is an excellent starting point, but in relation to mobility it is not always easy to understand. It is therefore recommended that, for example, the KNAC will also work hard for this.