UK rejects call for petrol cars to be banned from city centres
The UK has rejected proposals from the EU for petrol and diesel powered cars to be banned from city centres by 2050.
The European Commission plans to force out conventionally fuelled vehicles from city centres, and only allow cars powered by alternative means, such as electricity or hydrogen fuel cells.
EU transport commissioner Siim Kallas insisted that the proposals would not mean that people were inconvenienced though, saying: "Freedom to travel is a basic right for our citizens. Curbing mobility is not an option. Nor is business as usual."
"The widely-held belief that you need to cut mobility to fight climate change is simply not true. We can break the transport system's dependence on oil without sacrificing its efficiency and compromising mobility."
However, the UK has no plans to join in on the plan, with transport minister Norman Baker saying the EU should not be involved in individual cities' choices.
"We will not be banning cars from city centres anymore than we will be having rectangular bananas," he said.
The EU sees the idea as contributing to its plan of cutting carbon emissions by 60 percent. Kallas also proposed a 40 percent cut in shipping emissions, 40 percent use of low carbon fuels in aviation, and a 50p percent shift in middle distance journeys by both passengers and freight from road to rail and other modes.