Car-free Sunday for smog-struck Milan

Milan's cathedral Milan is one of Europe's most polluted cities

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The northern Italian city of Milan banned all traffic from its streets for 10 hours on Sunday in an attempt to reduce smog.

The measure, first imposed on a trial basis in 2007, is triggered whenever pollution exceeds the statutory limit for 12 consecutive days.

Satellite imagery shows Milan to be one of the most polluted cities in Europe.

An estimated 120,000 vehicles will be affected by the move, according to the Corriere della Sera newspaper.

The most polluting vehicles have been banned from driving through the city centre since Thursday.

But on Sunday, there was no traffic between 0800 and 1800 local time (06:00-16:00 GMT).

The ban is imposed when pollution exceeds 50 micrograms of particulates per cubic metre of air over 12 days. The last time the full ban was in force was in February.

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The move is not popular with all environmentalists, who argue that the city's public transport system should be improved to discourage people from using their cars.

Local Green Party councillor Enrico Fedrighini said cars with three or four people inside should be offered free parking, for example.

"One or two car-free Sundays each month won't do anything to tackle the smog crisis," he told Corriere della Sera.

Public transport was to be bolstered during the day, with an extra metro trains and buses operating.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 84.

    I like the idea for controlling pollution! But I doubt, that 10 hours will change a lot the global situation. Though, this method seems to be good for improving city's public transport system.

  • rate this

    Comment number 67.

    You hear so little about promotion of car sharing schemes, including women only schemes. Boris & politicians should be on top of this & even setting up/subsidising such schemes with Congestion charge income.

    There are so many under used VERY expensive & presently ATTROCIOUSLY wasteful park & ride carparks that could be utilised as local drop/off collection points for car sharing schemes.

  • rate this

    Comment number 30.

    Speaking as someone that actually lives in Milan, I would just like to clarify a couple of points.

    Firstly, the "no car" days are a regular occurrence here in Milano. They are not a new idea at all, as they have been taking place over the last 15 years or so.


  • rate this

    Comment number 26.

    If it was cheaper to get around cities people might give up their cars. Public transport charges are far to high and services are poor, travel is essential, not a luxury - if the government hadn't privatised bus and tran networks we wouldnt get ripped off so badly. I would rather walk in the rain than pay £2 to travel a mile on a dirty bus!

  • rate this

    Comment number 21.

    I lived in London I had a 5 series BMW and a K1200 BMW bike... now I live in the mountains of the Basque Country, I have neither... and other than the thrill, I don't miss them... why is this?

    Because public transport is brilliant... even to the most remote places. It is very cheap, and very reliable.

    Last time in London, I could not believe how expensive it was to travel... incredible


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