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EC denies city centre car ban claims

Date: 30 March 2011

The European Commission has denied claims by UK transport minister Norman Baker that it plans to ban petrol and diesel cars from city centres by 2050.

The EC stressed that individual European cities were "best placed to decide their own transport mix".

In its white paper 'Roadmap for the Future of Transport 2050' the EC said phasing out conventionally fuelled vehicles in urban centres would help to meet its target of cutting carbon emissions by 60% by 2050.

The EC said many European cities struggled to reduce problems such as congestion and noise pollution and that reducing the use of combustion engines was a "realistic objective".

It said action at European level could help the shift to alternative forms of transport by making them more attractive to users but insisted a ban on fossil fuels would not be introduced.

An EC spokesman said: "No one city or even country can act alone to bring on stream the technologies needed to tackle the challenges of transport in Europe's cities. But a blanket ban on conventional cars is not on the table."

The EC was reacting to comments from Baker, who told the BBC: "We will not be banning cars from city centres any more than we will be having rectangular bananas."

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