Amsterdam Plans to Ban All Non-Electric Vehicles by 2030
"Pollution often is a silent killer and is one of the greatest health hazards in Amsterdam," Amsterdam Traffic Councillor Sharon Dijksma said, explaining the decision.
Despite its bicycle culture, the Netherlands has air pollution levels that exceed EU safety rules, mostly because of traffic in Amsterdam and Rotterdam. Dijksma said that air pollution in the city shortens lifespans by more than a year, Dutch News reported.
The plan will be implemented in stages, as The Guardian reported.
1. By 2020, diesel cars more than 15 years old will be banned from the area within the A10 ring road surrounding the capital.
2. By 2022, public buses and coaches that emit exhaust will be banned from the city center.
3. By 2025, exhaust-emitting boats, mopeds and light mopeds will also be banned.
4. By 2030, all traffic must be emission free.
The plan's success will also require the city to increase the number of electric vehicle charging stations from 3,000 to 16,000 to 23,000 by 2025. The council hopes to encourage residents to switch to electric or hydrogen cars by offering subsidies and parking permits, according to Reuters.
Climate activists praised the plan for its ambition.
"The banning of petrol and diesel cars and motorbikes can be done because Amsterdam is doing it. If they can do it then your city should be able to also," Extinction Rebellion tweeted.
The banning of petrol and diesel cars and motorbikes can be done because Amsterdam is doing it. If they can do it t… https://t.co/2d0Z6ZsUoB— Extinction Rebellion (@Extinction Rebellion)1556910691.0
However, not everyone is pleased with the plan.
"Many tens of thousands of families who have no money for an electric car will soon be left out in the cold. That makes Amsterdam a city of the rich," automotive lobby group the Rai Association said, according to The Guardian. "In 2030, about one third of the cars will be electric, we expect. But there will also be a lot of people who won't be able to afford that by then."
But Eindhoven University of Technology Prof. Maarten Steinbuch was more optimistic, pointing out that electric cars were getting cheaper and were already less expensive to maintain than fossil-fuel powered cars.
"We've still got 11 years," he told broadcaster NOS. according to Dutch News.
The plan still needs the approval of the entire Amsterdam city council, and must first pass through a public comment period, Dutch News explained.
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By Naomi Larsson
For centuries, the delicate silver dove has been a symbol of love and fidelity.
Biodiversity and Habitat Loss<p>Their near extinction is a symbol of the <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/global-biodiversity-outlook-targets-extinction-summit-new-york-pledge/a-54932895" target="_blank">biodiversity crisis</a> in the UK, largely driven by habitat destruction. Britain is now one of the countries with the most <a href="https://www.wwf.org.uk/future-of-UK-nature#:~:text=The%20UK%20is%20one%20of,than%20half%20are%20in%20decline" target="_blank">depleted nature</a> in the world according to the World Wildlife Fund. Half its plant and animal species are in decline and more than <a href="https://www.rspb.org.uk/about-the-rspb/about-us/media-centre/press-releases/let-nature-sing-wales/#:~:text=a%20natural%20tragedy.-,Over%2040%20million%20birds%20have%20vanished%20from%20UK%20skies%20in,unaware%20of%20the%20impending%20danger" target="_blank">40 million birds</a> have vanished in just half a century.</p><p>"[Turtle doves] are the canary in the [coal] mine because there are all these other species before it and after it," said Tree. "It's an umbrella for all the other species that are heading that way."</p><p>Turtle doves migrate south through Europe to sub-Saharan Africa between July and September, ending up in dry woodland and farmland areas of countries like Mali and Senegal for winter. </p><p>Droughts in West Africa and the Sahel region are believed to have contributed to the fall in turtle dove species recorded in northern Europe, with low rainfall reducing supplies of the seeds and insects the birds rely on for energy for the long journey home.</p>
Conservation and Farming<p><a href="https://www.operationturtledove.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Operation Turtle Dove,</a> a partnership project of charities including the Essex Wildlife trust, works with landowners and farmers to actively build turtle dove habitat.</p><p>Outten works with <a href="https://www.ebws.org.uk/birdsites/blue-house-farm-ewt-north-fambridge" target="_blank">Blue House Farm</a>, a 660-acre nature reserve in the UK county of Essex, where they have replicated weedy fallow plots. </p><p>"We work on it every year to make sure it's in the condition it needs to be with plants such as clovers and black medic," Outten said. "These plants are native to the landscape and produce the seed the birds feed on." </p><p>The birds eat a wide range of seeds from various plants that would have been abundant 50 or 100 years ago, added Guy Anderson, program manager for species recovery with The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). </p><p>"But it's simply true that with the gradual process of <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/farming-without-pesticides-how-can-we-make-agriculture-greener/a-52216796" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">intensifying our agricultural production</a>, the availability of those seeds has dropped and dropped," said Anderson.</p><p>Part of the project includes supplementary feeding — providing sources of food in the form of seed or grain. Under the Countryside Stewardship Scheme in England, farmers can receive financial support to create a turtle dove habitat. </p><p>Though they haven't recorded an increase in doves across the sites in the four years of working on the project, Outten said they are seeing improvements in how landowners and farmers manage habitat for the birds. </p>
A Turtle Dove Haven<p>The 3,500-acre Knepp Estate in West Sussex is another project taking a different approach and one of the few places where turtle dove numbers are increasing.</p><p>Isabella Tree and her husband Charlie Burrell converted their intensively farmed land into a rewilding project almost 20 years ago. They have let the land return to nature.</p><p>Just one year after they'd finished <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/uks-most-talented-architects-are-not-human/a-35952128" target="_blank">rewilding</a> the southern part of their property, they heard turtle doves for the first time. It's now a breeding hotspot for the birds with an estimated 19 pairs. Knepp is also home to <a href="https://www.rewildingbritain.org.uk/rewilding/rewilding-projects/knepp-estate" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2% of the UK's population</a> of nightingales. </p><p>Tree is critical of supplementary feeding schemes that, in her view, are short term. She questions the chances of turtle doves getting to feed on scattered seeds before other mammals eat them first.</p>
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