On both Monday and Tuesday, weather forecasts call for cold weather and very little wind, conditions likely to cause high levels of exhaust pollution over large areas of the city.
Therefore the City of Oslo will for the first time ever implement a ban on diesel vehicles on municipal roads. On Tuesday, the ban will be in effect from 6am to 10pm. It will remain in effect during those same hours for as long as air pollution levels are determined to be at dangerous levels.
A violation of diesel ban will be punishable by a 1,5000 kroner fee, and both the police and the Public Roads Administration have the authority to enforce the rule.
“Acutely high air pollution means can make it hazardous for children, the elderly and asthmatics to be outdoors. The diesel ban is a radical measure, but it is necessary to preserve the health of city residents,” Gerd Robsahm Kjørven, the acting director of the Environment Department in Oslo, said.
The city council’s environment commissioner, Lan Marie Berg of the Green Party, said the most important thing for her is to take care of citizens' health.
“I understand that a ban can create challenges for our everyday lives, but on the other hand we can’t just tell vulnerable groups that they should stay indoors,” she told Aftenposten.
Berg said she hopes the ban will be short-lived and encouraged people to find alternative means of transportation in the meantime.
“It might be using public transport, cycling, riding with neighbours and friends who do not have diesel,” she said, adding that those who are able to should also consider working from home.
Aina Stensersen, the leader of The Progress Party in Oslo, said she thinks “it’s bad” that asthmatics and young people suffer as a result of the city’s air pollution, but said the ban will be a major inconvenience for a lot of motorists.
“I find it ironic that those who bought diesel vehicles, almost at the urging of the previous government, will now be ‘rewarded’ with a ban between 6am and 10pm,” she told NTB.
The ban applies to diesel-powered vehicles, but it makes a number of exceptions, such as for rechargeable hybrid diesel cars, vehicles used for public services and vehicles used for commercial purposes.
Politicians have been discussing a diesel ban to deal with Oslo's thickly polluted winter air since at least 2011.
The state roads Ring 3, E6, E18, Highway 4 Trondheimsveien, Highway 163 East Aker Road, Highway 190 Strømsveien and parts of Ring 1 are not covered by the ban.