• 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
Germans avoid plunge off Swiss mountain pass
Photo: Graubunden cantonal police

Two holidaymakers had a lucky escape when their brakes failed coming down a mountain pass.

Brexit
Swiss-EU talks ‘must’ resume this summer
Scheider-Ammann will seek talks with European Commission President Juncker. File photo: Emmanuel Dunand

Switzerland will insist it is heard in Brussels and not cast aside by last week’s Brexit vote, the Swiss president has said.

Euro 2016
Unlucky Swiss crash out of Euros on penalties
The Swiss hit the bar and forced the Polish goalkeeper into numerous saves as the match wore on but just couldn't convert a chance. Photo: AFP

Poland beat Switzerland 5-4 in a penalty shootout in the first Euro 2016 last 16 clash on Saturday with new Arsenal star Granit Xhaka missing a crucial kick for the Swiss.

Swiss-based IT worker at Panama Papers firm released
The identity of the man who worked at the Geneva offices of Mossack Fonseca has been withheld. Photo: AFP

A Swiss-based IT worker arrested earlier this month on suspicion of stealing documents from the law firm at the centre of the Panama Papers scandal was released from custody on Friday, his lawyer said.

Six authors who found inspiration in Switzerland
Chillon as it was in Byron's time. Photo: www.mymontreux.ch

It's 200 years since English poet Lord Byron visited Lake Geneva, putting it firmly on the literary map. But he's not the only one to have found inspiration in the country's hills and glaciers...

Brexit vote will hit Swiss economy: president
Schneider-Ammann has warned the Swiss economy could suffer. Photo: AFP

President Johann Schneider-Ammann has warned that Brexit will have a negative impact on the Swiss economy.

River swimmers advised of cold water risks
Cooling off should be done with care. Photo: bad-info.ch

As Switzerland basks in the sun swimmers are being warned that many rivers have yet to heat up.

SNB moves to stabilize franc after Brexit vote
The SNB is worried about the franc's strength. Photo: AFP

Central bank intervenes in the foreign exchange market to stabilize the franc following Brexit.

‘Leap into the unknown’: Swiss press on Brexit
The EU flag won't be hanging from British buildings in future. Photo: AFP

Britain's historic vote to leave the European Union is a recipe for uncertainty and turbulence, Swiss papers say.

Football: Swiss prep for Poland clash
The Swiss in training ahead of Saturday's game. Photo: AFP

The Swiss 'Nati' are gearing about to face Poland in the last 16 at Euro 2016 on Saturday.

Sponsored Article
Education abroad: How to find an international school
File photo: Jen/Flickr
Society
Geneva to get 'café fellatio' by end of year
Features
How Switzerland's scenery inspired some of the world's greatest authors
Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
National
A guaranteed basic income: why did the Swiss say no?
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Photo: Andreas Gerth/Swiss-Image.ch
Features
Switzerland’s breathtaking Unesco World Heritage sites
Photo: Nestle
Culture
Nestlé celebrates 150 years with museum openings
Photo: Jan Geerk/Swiss-image.ch
National
Report: Swiss are officially ‘good’ for the planet
Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
National
World agog at bizarre Gotthard Base Tunnel opening
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Photo: Coop
Swiss supermarkets look to scrap free plastic bags
Photo: IMD
Business & Money
Report: Swiss economy more competitive than US
Photo: Aargau police
National
Murderer escapes from Swiss psych hospital
Photo: Grande-Dixence SA/essencedesign.com
Features
8 fantastic reasons to visit French-speaking Switzerland
Photo: Terroir Fribourg
Lifestyle
Swiss village to make world’s biggest meringue
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Features
10 unspoken rules for fitting in with the Swiss
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Photo: Alp Transit Gotthard
National
Gotthard base tunnel: what you need to know
Photo: Caroline Bishop
Sport
Swiss cantons team up to vie for winter Olympic games
Photo: Broad Bean Media
National
Basel: Muslim schoolboys must shake hands or face fine
Photo: Emmanual Dunand/AFP
Sport
Brother of Belgian bomber wins gold in Switzerland
Photo: Gstaad Tourism
National
Snow puts end to hottest weekend of year so far
File photo: Abhishek Jacob
Lifestyle
Swiss court vetoes wedding of couple with 50-year age gap
Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP
Culture
Dog day afternoon: Swiss saint meets Pope in Rome
Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
Business & Money
Pink diamond sold for record-breaking $31m in Geneva
File photo: Candida Performa
Lifestyle
Revealed: living in Switzerland could prolong your life
4,558
jobs available