The city of Reykjavík yesterday repeated its call for more powers to control air pollution in the capital, singling out studded car tyres as the main culprits in creating airborne particulate pollution. Vísir reports that an estimated 42% of cars in the capital have these tyres, which are designed to grip better in icy conditions.
These calls from the Environment and Transport Council echo those made last week by the city’s Environment and Health Council. Reykjavík city hall has repeatedly called for government authority to ban studded tyres within its area of authority, but to no avail.
A recent report from the Icelandic Road Administration also supports this course of action. In addition, it notes that reducing traffic speed and volume – as well as wetting the streets – would also help reduce particle production. The report estimates that the number of cars using studded tyres would need to be halved to have a meaningful effect.
Vigdís Hauksdóttir, the Center Party’s representative on the Environment and Health Council, holds the view that street washing is the most effective way to reduce particulate matter. However Pawel Bartoszek, city representative for the Reform Party – and acting chairman of the Reykjavík City Environment and Transport Council – disagrees. But personally he supports a charge to use studded tires, rather than a ban on them.
“I prefer to allow those who want to pay for pollution,” Pawel said. “The goal of charging, however, would not be to keep that forty percent of cars on studs and just put money in the box of the city.”
Note: Due to the effect the Coronavirus is having on tourism in Iceland, it’s become increasingly difficult for the Grapevine to survive. If you enjoy our content and want to help the Grapevine’s journalists do things like eat and pay rent, please consider joining our High Five Club.
You can also check out our shop, loaded with books, apparel and other cool merch, that you can buy and have delivered right to your door.
Buy subscriptions, t-shirts and more from our shop right here!