• Switzerland's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Zurich ranks first among Europe's 'sootfree cities'
Cycling is one of the alternative forms of transportation promoted in Zurich. Photo: City of Zurich

Zurich ranks first among Europe's 'sootfree cities'

Malcolm Curtis · 31 Mar 2015, 09:25

Published: 31 Mar 2015 09:25 GMT+02:00

The bureau hailed Switzerland’s largest city for its commitment to cut pollution from vehicles, its promotion of cleaner forms of transport and for its low levels of pollution.

The “Sootfree Cities” ranking put Zurich ahead of Copenhagen, Vienna, Stockholm and Berlin.

Luxembourg, with one of the highest percentages of car users in the European Union, got the worst evaluation, just ahead of Lisbon and Rome.

The “comprehensive air quality strategy” of Zurich, with a population of 400,000 in the city and 1.3 million people in the metropolitan area, has made it the ranking’s winner this year, the EEB said.

The bureau noted that in Zurich and in runner-up city Copenhagen the number of cars has been substantially cut and there are restrictions on highly polluting vehicles such as diesel cars, trucks and construction machines.

“At the same time, cleaner forms of transport, such as public transport, cycling and walking have been greatly expanded,” it said.

“Zurich has already progressed well beyond the EU’s norms,” Arne Fellermann, transport officer at BUND, Friends of the Earth Germany, which helped develop the ranking, said in a statement.

But Fellermann noted that 90 percent of Europeans living in cities are still breathing unhealthy air.

Air pollution causes nearly half a million premature deaths each year in the EU and the average life expectancy of residents in the most polluted cities is reduced by two years as a result, the EEB said.

The worst areas have high concentrations of particulate matter (largely produced by diesel cars), nitrogen dioxide and ozone, the bureau said.

The ‘Sootfree Cities’ ranking evaluated 23 of Europe’s cities in nine transport-related categories, including the promotion of sustainable transport, traffic management, public procurement and economic incentives, such as congestion charges and parking.

Story continues below…

While Zurich is well below the EU’s air quality limits, it currently fails to meet the “far stricter” Swiss standards, the EEB said.

The bureau called for greater effort to cut pollution in Europe’s biggest cities.

“The EU must be more ambitious if it wants to prevent repeats of last week’s deadly smog,” EEB spokeswoman Louise Duprez said, referring to the recent high pollution levels in Paris and other cities.

For a look at the full rankings, check here.

For more news from Switzerland, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Malcolm Curtis (news@thelocal.ch)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Prison for woman who faked Swiss airport bomb threat
Geneva airport. Photo: eGuide Travel

The 41-year-old French mother of four provoked a massive security scare at Geneva airport.

Hot weather causes forest fire fears in Valais
Bonfires are traditionally lit to celebrate Swiss National Day. Photo: Marcus Gyger/Swiss Tourism

National Day fireworks and bonfires should be staged with caution, says the canton.

Swiss National Day: five traditions all expats should try
Want to learn to play the alphorn? File photo: Christof Sonderegger/Swiss Tourism

Celebrate Swiss National Day on August 1st by learning these proud Swiss traditions.

Swiss bank bounces back from losses
File photo: Emmanuel Dunand

Credit Suisse is back in profit following a first quarter dip.

Man falls to his death over dropped ski pole
The site of the accident. Photo: Valais cantonal police

Frenchman dies after he went to pick up a dropped ski pole and fell 200 metres down a mountain.

Young migrant injured after jumping from window
The girl was staying in a centre for asylum seekers in Zweisimmen. Photo: Vasile Cotovanu

A 15-year-old girl due to be deported from Switzerland is in hospital after jumping from a window.

Woman faked airport bomb threat over marital tiff
The bomb threat caused a big security alert at Geneva airport. File photo: Richard Juilliart

Wednesday's bomb threat was invented by a woman who wanted to get revenge on her husband’s mistress.

Bencic joins Federer in opting out of Rio

The Swiss is the latest top 20 tennis star to pull out of Olympics.

Swiss sports court heads to Rio Olympics
CAS has relocated from Lausanne (pictured) to Rio to deal with doping matters. Photo: CAS

The Lausanne-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has temporarily relocated to Rio so it can make rulings over Olympic doping from the scene.

Police step up security at Geneva airport after tip-off
File photo: eGuide Travel

UPDATE: Police gradually withdraw security measures put in place this morning after an unspecified threat against the building.

File photo: Chase Elliott Clark
Lifestyle
Study: a fifth of Swiss spy on neighbours
Photo: Katwarn.de
National
Switzerland mulls alarm text message service
Photo: The Local
National
Study: grazing cows are worse for the environment
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Photo: Kecko
National
Terror fears trigger Swiss run on guns
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Photo: Commune d'Ayent
National
Spectacular Valais ‘bisse’ to feature on new banknote
Photo: Swiss Post
National
Swiss Post moves to accept debit cards – sometimes
Photo: Chris Marquardt
Lifestyle
Police break up dispute over late-night laundry
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Photo: Grand Tours Project
Features
Why you should get on your bike in Switzerland
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Photo: The Local
Society
Swiss village tells landlords: don’t rent homes to refugees
Photo: Rolf Krahl/Christophe G
International
Survey: world willing to pay more for ‘Swissness’
Photo: The Local
International
Chaos in Como after Swiss send back refugees
Photo: AFP/The Local
Lifestyle
Nine top celebrity hotspots in Switzerland
Photo: Graubunden police
National
World-class Swiss climber Norbert Joos dies on ‘home mountain’
Photo: Kathleen Waters
Society
Italian ‘ignored’ by Swiss schools in language wars
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Photo: Whitepod
Features
The quirkiest places to stay in Switzerland
International
Migrant busted trying to sneak into Switzerland in a suitcase
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Photo: Jonathan Kos-Read
National
Basel suffers wettest six months for 150 years
Photo: Georges Gobet/AFP
Technology
Why Swiss science could suffer badly from Brexit fallout
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Photo: Robert Valencia
International
Swiss couple in Nicaragua told to give back adopted daughter
Photo: Zurich cantonal police
National
Police hunt prisoner on the run in Zurich murder case
Photo: Christoph G
Politics
Switzerland sets out law on expelling foreign criminals
Photo: Bernacqua
Lifestyle
Drone shocks nudists at Swiss waterpark
Photo: Basel Justice and Security Dept
Lifestyle
New signs lay down law and order for Basel prostitutes
4,556
jobs available