Dutch politicians have voted through a motion calling on the country to ban sales of new petrol and diesel cars starting in 2025.
The motion has only passed through the lower house of the Netherlands’ parliament, and would need to pass through the Dutch senate to become legally binding. But its success in a majority vote puts the earliest date yet on just when a major country might begin phasing out polluting transportation.
Initially, the motion – proposed by the Labour Party (PvdA), the junior member of the Netherlands’ coalition government – aimed to ban petrol and diesel cars entirely, but it was dialled back. As it stands, the proposal would allow existing cars to stay in use, but would “strive to prevent” the sales of any future ones, ensuring that Dutch roads gradually electrify over the next decade or so.
But the motion was opposed by the Labour Party’s coalition partners, the centre-right VVD, whose leader, Halbe Zijlstra, called the plan “unrealistic”, according to a report from the Dutch state broadcaster NOS. Zijlstra was particularly concerned about whether or not the proposed law would conflict with the country’s energy agreement, which commits the Netherlands to certain decarbonisation targets by 2020.
The leader of the PvdA, Diederik Samsom, says that the proposal would be feasible – and that the energy agreement wouldn’t conflict with it. “That agreement runs until 2023, we are free in what we do after that. We are ambitious, perhaps other parties are less so”, he said.