Published On: Mon, Feb 5th, 2024
World | 4,319 views

Paris launches war on SUVs as Sadiq Khan says he’ll ‘steal’ scheme for London next | World | News

One of the most popular tourist spots for Brits just got a lot more expensive for anyone with a car over a certain weight – and London could follow suit. Paris, often regarded the world’s number one tourist destination, has tripled the cost of parking larger vehicles in the city.

Parking for six hours on a street in the beautiful city in an SUV or a large car will run up a whopping billl of €225 (£192) – a scheme Sadiq Khan may already have his eye on for London.

The move by mayor Anne Hidalgo was voted in by Parisians on Sunday with 55 percent in favour, prompting the Socialist leader to insist “other cities will follow suit”.

The policy is designed to push out large 4x4s and other large vehicles that are among the worst offenders for pollution, as well as overcrowding, in the busy capital.

However just six percent of the 1.3million possible voters headed to the polls.

The increase in price represents triple of what it used to be, and will now €18 (£15) an hour. This applies for vehicles that weigh more than 1.6 tonnes.

Hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles and all-­electric vehicles heavier than two tonnes are also included under the changes. Parisians with resident permits will be exempt in their home area and the charge will not apply to taxis, tradespeople, health workers or drivers with a disability.

But the policy has been rumoured to cross the Channel as it was previously backed by London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who described it as “innovative”.

Opposition to the bill came primarily from the more wealthy western district of Paris, where residents tend to own more vehicles.

Ms Hidalgo acknowledged the “considerable divisions that we always see between east and west” but added “Parisians have made a clear choice”.

When asked by the Guardian about the Paris mayor’s scheme, Mr Khan told The Guardian: “We always examine policies around the globe. I’m a firm believer in stealing good policies. Rather than inventing [new policies] badly, if other cities are doing stuff that works, we will copy them.”

Some London councils are already implementing similar ideas. Islington council charges parked cars depending on their weight, while Lambeth is looking at similar measures.

A spokesman for Mr Khan however insisted the mayor had “no power” to introduce an SUV parking charge in the capital and “no plans to do so”.

Tony Renucci, of the air quality pressure group Respire, said: “The result of the vote is a victory for Paris residents’ quality of life.”

Mr Renucci added: “These monsters on wheels are no longer wanted on our streets”.

But a French motorist lobby group blasted it as a “publicity stunt”.

“She’s trying to make SUVs the symbol of the anti-car policies of her city hall. It’s simplistic and false,” added Pierre Chasseray, head of 40 Million Drivers, a lobby group for French drivers. “If we don’t stop it now, this rebellion led by an ultra-urban and anti-car minority will spread like gangrene.”

Ms Hidalgo’s council has also closed traffic thoroughfares and built 50 miles of bike lanes, resulting in a 71 percent increase in bike usage since 2020.

A spokesperson for the Mayor of London said: “The Mayor has no powers to introduce an SUV parking charge and has no plans to do so. The Mayor was making the point that leaders across the world are exploring innovative ways of tackling air pollution and improving road safety, and the mayor continues to monitor these.”

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