Petrol and diesel-driven cars should be phased out, says European Commission

European Commission unveils plans to ban 'conventionally fuelled' cars

Petrol and diesel-driven cars should be banned from cities across Europe by 2050, the European Commission says.

A sweeping transport plan to be put to EU governments insists that phasing out “conventionally fuelled” cars by then is not an assault on personal mobility.

Coupled with proposals and targets covering road, rail and air travel, the Commission says its transformation of the European transport system can increase mobility and cut congestion and emissions.

EU Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas said the “widely held belief that you need to cut mobility to fight climate change is simply not true”.

“Competitive transport systems are vital for Europe’s ability to compete in the world, for economic growth, job creation and for peoples’ everyday quality of life.

“Curbing mobility is not an option; neither is business as usual. We can break the transport system's dependence on oil without sacrificing its efficiency and compromising mobility. It can be win-win,” Kallas said.

He was unveiling plans adopted by the Commission for a Single European Transport Area, intended to set up “a fully integrated transport network which ... allows for a profound shift in transport patterns for passengers and freight”.

The measures the document proposes, says the Commission, could “dramatically reduce Europe’s dependence on imported oil and cut carbon emissions in transport by 60 per cent by 2050”.

Its key goals by 2050 are:

- No more conventionally fuelled cars in cities;

- 40 per cent use of sustainable low-carbon fuels in aviation; at least a 40 per cent cut in shipping emissions;

- A 50 per cent shift of medium distance inter-city passenger and freight journeys from road to rail and waterborne transport.

The document says that by 2050 the majority of medium-distance passenger journeys - those above about 300 kilometres - should be by rail.

More than half of road freight travelling more than 300 kilometres should move to rail or boat (30 per cent by 2030).

All core network airports should be connected to the rail network by 2050, with all core seaports “sufficiently connected to the rail freight and, where possible, inland waterway system”.

For longer-distance travel, and intercontinental freight, air and sea travel will benefit from “new engines, fuels and traffic management systems (which) will increase efficiency and reduce emissions”, says the document.

The use of low-carbon fuels in aviation should reach 40 per cent by 2050, with a complete modernisation of Europe’s air traffic control system already achieved by 2020 to deliver the “Single European Sky”.

For urban transport, the Commission calls for 50 per cent shift away from conventionally fuelled cars by 2030, phasing them out altogether in cities by 2050.

The aim is to achieve “essentially CO2-free movement of goods in major urban centres by 2030”.

A huge goal is that by 2050 Europe should “move close to zero fatalities in road transport”, with an interim target of halving all road casualties by 2020.

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