The cut-off date beyond which the sale of petrol and diesel cars will be banned is set to be announced sometime next year.

Finance Minister Edward Scicluna said the decision would be based on the recommendation of a commission which the government has set up on how to handle the phasing out of the sale of fossil-fuelled cars. However, the finance minister pointed out that owners of traditional petrol and diesel cars would still be able to use their car beyond the coming into force of this ban.

Plans for the phasing out of fossil fuelled cars had been announced two years ago by the Prime Minister as part of government’s effort to reduce toxic emissions from vehicles.

Last year a European Commission report on the Paris Climate Agreement warned that Malta was the only EU country having to buy emission credits from other member states as it continued to come way short of reduction targets. The report attributed the missed targets to car emissions and increased HFC (hydrofluorocarbon) emissions from the rising demand for air-conditioning.

The commission had encouraged Malta to set targets and implement measures to cut greenhouse gas emissions from transport by 2025.

France was the first to declare a ban on the sale of new gas- and diesel-powered cars as of 2040. The United Kingdom followed suit, announcing it too had similar plans to ban internal combustion engines and completely remove them from roads by 2050.

Norway, Europe’s largest market for electric vehicles, decided on 2025 as a cut-off for the sale of combustion engine vehicles.

Another measure in the transport sector targets the elderly whereby persons aged 75 and over will be able to use the bus service for free. An estimated 19,000 persons will be benefitting from the scheme.

Another measure in the transport sector targets the elderly whereby persons aged 75 and over will be able to use the bus service for free. An estimated 19,000 persons will be benefitting from the scheme. This measure complements similar exemptions introduced in recent years for teenagers from 14 years upwards, full-time students aged over 20 and anyone in possession of a disability card.

In 2020, the government will continue with the €700 million residential roads reconstruction programme. This project, is over and above the large scale arterial road upgrades like the one in Marsa near the Addolorata Cemetery and the Santa Luċija tunnels which are for completion by the end of next year. Moreover, works on the Central Link Project, the four tunnels leading to Paceville, new flyovers in Msida, and the Msida Creek project are also scheduled to start.

 

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