Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo calls for ban on diesel cars by 2020

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Paris covered in smog (11 March 2014)Image source, AFP
Image caption,
The Eiffel Tower and other landmark buildings disappeared in fog in March

The mayor of Paris has called for diesel cars to be banned from the French capital by 2020 as part of plans to reduce pollution.

Anne Hidalgo told France's Journal du Dimanche newspaper she wanted only ultra low-emission vehicles on the capitals' main thoroughfares.

She also suggested more pedestrianised areas and a doubling of cycle lanes.

A partial car ban was imposed in March after the capital's air quality was found to be one of the worst on record.

Serious risk

"I want diesel cars out of Paris by 2020," Ms Hidalgo said in the interview published on Sunday (in French).

"Today 60% of Parisians already do not have cars, compared with 40% in 2001. Things are changing quickly."

Image source, AFP
Image caption,
Ms Hidalgo said she wanted to limit the traffic on some streets to "clean vehicles"

Her plans also include limits on the tourist buses that clog Paris streets, banning trucks from cutting through the city, and adding electric vans to the city's car-sharing scheme.

She said there was a serious public health risk in the capital, with Parisians living on average six or seven months less than people not exposed to the same levels of pollution.

The plans will be discussed by the city council on Tuesday.

Image source, AP
Image caption,
The authorities have in the past banned vehicles from running on certain days

Some 84% of Paris residents see fighting pollution as a priority and 54% supported a diesel ban in the city by 2020, according a poll carried out for the Journal du Dimanche.

Research by the World Health Organization has shown that diesel engines, although more fuel efficient than petrol engines, produce more pollutants.