Parisians vote for rise in parking fees for SUVs

SUV in Paris (file image)
SUV in Paris (file image)
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Parisians have approved a steep rise in parking rates for SUVs in the French capital.

The proposals were approved by 54.55% of voters.

The move triples parking rates for cars weighing 1.6 tonnes or more to €18 (£16; $20) an hour in inner Paris.

The vote was called by Socialist Mayor Anne Hidalgo, who has argued that SUVs are dangerous and bad for the environment.

About 1.3m residents of central Paris were eligible to vote. However they will not be affected by the result as street-parking for local residents will remained unchanged.

The move is mainly aimed at people from the suburbs who drive into the centre of the capital for the day.

There are exemptions for fully electric cars, taxi drivers, tradespeople, health workers and people with disabilities.

Ms Hidalgo has been in office for almost 10 years. Under her tenure as mayor, many Paris streets, including the banks of the river Seine, have been pedestrianised.

An extensive network of cycle lanes has also been built, in an effort to discourage driving.

Environmentalists argue that SUVs consume more fuel than other cars and that their construction and use produce more harmful emissions.

Supporters of the move also note that tall vehicles are deadlier than lighter cars when they are involved in accidents.

But both drivers' groups and opposition figures have attacked the scheme, saying the SUV classification is misleading as many family sized cars would be affected.

France's Environment Minister Christophe Bechu, a centrist, told broadcaster RTL that the surcharge amounted to "punitive environmentalism".

Last April Ms Hidalgo won a city referendum on banning rental e-scooters from Paris streets. However fewer that 8% of eligible residents voted.