The first major city to implement a ‘blanket ban’ on all diesels over a certain age whenever air quality drops below a certain level has now been confirmed.
The latest attack on diesel drivers, which transport chiefs in Geneva plan to launch later this year, follows a landmark ruling by a German court last week that cities can legally ban diesel cars to fight air pollution.
And if the changes in Switzerland and Germany are rolled out across the EU and single market, older diesel cars could soon be banned from British roads.
The changes could even apply in the UK AFTER Brexit, as the British Government has indicated it may retain ‘regulatory alignment’ on environmental standards with the continent.
The proposal, which was developed in autumn 2017, is based on the Crit’Air system in place in certain areas of France.
Under this system cars are grouped into six colour-coded categories that depend on the year the car was registered, how energy efficient they are and the quantity of emissions they emit.
Currently under the French system, older diesel cars have the lowest possible rating.
It is these cars that Geneva authorities want to remove from the roads, when emissions hit their peak.
In Geneva peak emissions levels for nitrogen oxide, ozone and particulate matter are exceeded for three operate times over the course of a year.
These breaches can last anywhere between two days and two weeks.
It is not clear whether or not this ban would be temporary, based on peak emissions or permanent.
Plans to ban the older and most polluting vehicles has been backed by Mouvement Citoyen Genevois (MCG) party, which hopes that the volume of cars eating Geneva each day from France is slashed.
Estimates suggest that almost half a million people travel from Geneva to France daily, with a large proportion of these accessing the country via a car.
One hurdle for Geneva is convincing the Swiss federal authorities in Berlin to agree to a plan, reports the NZZ am Sonntag.
The Swiss authorities have yet to draw up a national strategy to deal with the burgeoning air pollution problem, yet remain determined to agree on one, which could stunt progress for Geneva.
Geneva’s city’s transport chief Luc Barthassat stressed that the problem needs to be dealt with immediately.
“We can’t wait for a national solution. There is also a need for action already,” he stated.
If the proposals to ditch these vehicles is approved and the sticker system introduced it could cause a domino effect across Europe, including the UK.
The success of the plan could cause EU officials to rollout a Europe-wide system to reduce air pollution.
While the UK will eventually not be regulated by the EU, it could still opt to follow in the footsteps to help ensure air pollution targets are met.
A similar proposal already in discussion in the UK is for the introduction of Low Emissions Zones which restrict the times high polluting cars can travel into the city centre.
They are based on the T-Charge in London and the upcoming Ultra Low Emissions Zones.
These schemes charge drivers that don’t meet a strict emissions limit to pay a daily fee.
Currently the T-Charge can cost drivers up to £24.50 a day to drive in.