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Oslo city centre will close to motor traffic in four years

Norwegian capital's new left-green coalition government wants to cut pollution, by banning cars by 2019...

Cars will be banned from central Oslo from 2019, and at least 60km of bike lanes built, in an attempt to tackle air pollution, local politicians have announced.

Where European capitals Paris and Belfast close streets to motor traffic for just a few hours a year, Norway's capital would be the first in the world to make the measure permanent.

On Monday the newly-elected Labour-Green-Socialist Left leadership made the announcement, with the environment and carbon emissions a key focus of the coalition.

 - First 'car-free' day in Paris sees massive pollution and noise drop

 “We want to have a car-free center,” Lan Marier Nguyen Berg, lead negotiator for Norway’s Green Party in Oslo, told Reuters.

“We want to make it better for pedestrians, cyclists … it will be better for shops and everyone.”

There will also be a "massive boost" in investment in public transport, with buses and trams serving the city centre, while special arrangements will be made to allow motor vehicles carrying people with disabilities in the city centre.

- Belfast follows Paris with three hour car free Sunday

 Oslo has 600,000 inhabitants and almost 350,000 cars. The proposed city centre car ban area is home to just 1,000 residents, with 90,000 commuting in and out daily.

Around 400 parking spaces have already been removed from the city streets in the last three years to discourage driving. 

Norway recently announced it would divest from fossil fuels, also a world first.

Earlier this year media reported Oslo could face five years of traffic misery as several of its key tunnels are due to close, one by one, for renovation. Highway officials began advising commuters in April to start walking, cycling or taking the bus instead.


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