Sweden’s ruling right-wing Moderates have expressed anger at Stockholm’s Green-Social Democrat coalition, which announced a ban on petrol and diesel cars in parts of the city centre from 2025 on Tuesday.
The town’s council declared that only electric cars and low-emission gas vehicles will be allowed in a 20-block-sized area in central Stockholm from 2025. The ban also applies to transport vehicles and taxis, and low-emission plug-in hybrids will also be allowed for heavy traffic.
“The aim is to create a better air and noise environment for those who live in the area,” Lars Strömgren, the city’s traffic commissioner”, told SVT.
This is the first time that a class three environmental zone has been introduced in Sweden. However, earlier plans to introduce such a zone in Gamla Stan, Stockholm’s historic old town, have been abandoned.
“The low emission zone will be introduced in an area with a lot of pedestrians and cyclists, where air quality needs to be improved. It is also a part of the city where we see a strong commitment to faster electrification, with actors who can lead the transition,” Strömgren said.
In opposition at the Council level, Dennis Wedin of Prime Minister Kristersson’s Moderate Party made no secret of his outrage at the decision.
“This is ideological symbolic politics,” he told the press.
According to him, the eco-zone will make the city less accessible and exclude people who cannot afford electric cars. He further claimed that the Social Democrats are breaking election promises by removing parking spaces and introducing a ban.
“They are breaking their promises and letting the Greens use the city centre as an experimental workshop,” he concluded.
Moderates believe that the best way to improve air quality is for more people to switch to electric cars, which will require more charging points and different congestion and parking charges for electric vehicles.
At the same time, Wadin agreed that Stockholm should not be designed around the car, and the city aims to have zero-emission traffic in the city centre by 2030.
“We should look at other modes of transport and see which streets can be car-free so that the traffic flow works,” he added.