Lombardy to press for cleaner vehicles

Regional president pledges to require all new car sales to be "ecological" by 2005

The president of Italy's Lombardy region has issued a pledge to require that by 2005 all new vehicles sold in the area are "ecological". "I have sent out a message to the European automobile industry, said Roberto Formigoni in a newspaper interview on Sunday. "This kind of research needs to be speeded up and a major region like Lombardy can provide a significant boost with funding, research and time."

Mr Formigoni said he would draft a plan over the next 12 months to achieve his aims. He made a point of calling on Italy's major car maker, the Turin-based Fiat, to start producing alternatives to petrol or diesel cars. An estimated four million vehicles are on Lombardy's roads.

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