War on motorists: Berlin considering banning all cars in first for major European city

Sadiq Khan's ULEZ expansion is 'appalling' says Norris

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Berlin’s city centre could become the world’s largest car-free urban area under proposals being considered by the city Government. It follows a petition signed by 50,000 citizens last year calling for a blanket ban on privately-owned cars.

The Government is now formally reviewing the suggestion which would lead to the city being an almost completely car-free zone.

Only those with previously agreed exemptions would be able to drive in the city.

They would include the disabled, delivery vehicles and emergency services.

The decision is set to be taken in February this year.

The campaign was launched by a group called Berlin Autofrei and calls for the limits to be applied within a 34-mile radius in the city centre.

It’s an area encompassed by the city’s Ringbahn train line.

Residents living in the zone would only be allowed to use a car or van up to 12 times a year, for special circumstances such as moving house.

Public transport would instead be expanded and cyclists would be given priority with more dedicated lanes.

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The idea behind the movement is to improve air quality by cutting emissions and reducing the number of accidents in Berlin.

Nina Noble, one of the campaign organisers, said in a statement: “Our law improves the quality of life for all Berliners.

“We want people to be able to sleep with their windows open and children to be able to play in the street again.

“Especially children and senior citizens are endangered by cars. Also, grandparents should be able to ride their bicycles safely and have plenty of benches to take a breather on.”

The draft of the law was submitted in February last year and received more than double the amount of signatures required for it to be considered by authorities.

But if the city initially rejects the proposals, 175,000 will be needed to force them to legally review it a second time.

At that point, the matter would be put to a public vote.

The area under consideration is approximately the size of zones one and two in London’s TFL network.

The last year saw London Mayor Sadiq Khan increase the size of the cleaner air ULEZ zone to 22 boroughs, doubling the area covered.

Mr Khan now wants to increase the zone to all 33 boroughs, outside the current boundary of the North and South circular road.

He has also spoken of considering a daily charge to drive anywhere in London, in addition to a ‘pay-per-mile’ system.

Oxford becomes the UK’s first ‘Zero Emissions Zone’ next month as it starts to charge anyone not driving an electric car to enter the city centre.

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