European car-free day 2000 launched

Nine member states pledge to participate in voluntary traffic restrictions on 22 September

European environment commissioner Margot Wallström today launched a car-free day for 2000 in Brussels. Nine EU member states signed the European car-free day pledge. Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Portugal, Spain and Sweden have committed themselves to organising the day in partnership with the EU and local authorities.

Ms Wallström said the day would be an important step in contributing to a "decent, clean and safe environment for future generations," while adding that "publicity campaigns are not enough". Better public transport, cycling facilities, street and city design and more park and ride schemes were also necessary, she said.

Last year, 22 million people participated in the first European car-free day (ENDS Daily 23 September 1999) which built on previous initiatives in French towns and cities in 1998 (ENDS Daily 10 September 1998).

Meanwhile, another Sunday ban on cars in an Italian city will take place this weekend as part of a nation-wide campaign for reducing air pollution (ENDS Daily 18 January). This weekend, Rome's city centre will be closed to cars while public transport will be free of charge.

Follow Up:
European Commission. Press releases dated 3/2/00 and 4/2/00, (IP/00/107 and SPEECH/00/32) are posted on Rapid.

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