Mon, 02 Oct 2023

Hanover city center to go car-free by 2030

20 Sep 2023, 02:05 GMT+10

BERLIN, Sept. 19 (Xinhua) -- The city center of Hanover in Germany is aiming to go car-free by 2030, under a plan presented on Tuesday for a "mobility turnaround" to give more space to pedestrians and cyclists.

"The time for experiments is over. Now it's time for implementation," said Mayor of Hanover Belit Onay, a member of the Green Party. "The measures presented will give the city center a tailwind for sustainable and climate-friendly development."

Some streets in Hanover's city center would be closed to cars, according to a statement from the state capital of Lower Saxony. The two tunnels at the main train station would also be closed to motorized vehicles.

Meanwhile, a speed limit of 20 to 30 kilometers per hour will "apply wherever possible," the statement said. It also underlines that if sufficient space were available to park cars in garages, parking spaces in public outdoor areas of the city center would be largely eliminated.

However, cars will not disappear completely, Onay said, underlining that it will become easier for those who rely on cars, "because there will be less competing car traffic."

Germany aims to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 65 percent by 2030 compared to 1990 levels, and to be fully climate neutral by 2045. In order to achieve these ambitious goals, all sectors must reach reduction targets.

However, Europe's largest economy is struggling to reach these targets. In August, the Expert Council on Climate Change (ERK) found that although a climate action program proposed by the German government in June would enable a significant reduction of emissions, a "large gap" would remain before reaching the goals.

Germany's transport and building sectors are considered particularly challenging with regard to greenhouse gas reductions. The government's plan for these two sectors "would not be sufficient to compensate for the sectoral target shortfalls," according to ERK's report.

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