France car regulations

French consumers will soon be encouraged to act more environmentally with new regulations that require car advertisements to display warning labels, similar to  health warnings on cigarette packaging.

“Consider carpooling”, “for short trips, choose to walk or cycle” and “for day-to-day use, take public transport”

The new warning labels with phrases such as “consider carpooling”, “for short trips, choose to walk or cycle” and “for day-to-day use, take public transport” will be required for car ads on all media (internet, print, TV, and radio) and must include the hashtag “#SeDeplacerMoinsPolluer” (Move and Pollute Less). The ads must also include a vehicle’s CO2 emission class.

The new regulations will come into effect in March 2022. Advertisers who fail to comply could pay fines of up to $A56,000.

Similar mandatory messages have been part of food ads in France since 2007, including phrases like “For your health, avoid eating too fatty, too sweet, too salty.”

The measures introduced by President Emmanuel Macron’s government are meant to reduce pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, where the transport sector is responsible for 31 per cent of emissions.

“Decarbonising transport is not just switching to an electric motor,” Barbara Pompili, France’s ecological transition minister, said in a tweet translated from French.

“It also means using, when possible, public transport or cycling,” she said.

Car companies appear willing to comply with the new regulations.

“It means that overall, we have to find alternatives to the automobile. It’s the first time we’ve had such a direct message from the government,” head of Hyundai France Lionel Keogh told French press agency AFP. “We are going to adapt — moving toward zero-emission vehicles is the course of history”.

This comes as on New Year’s Day France banned plastic wrapping on magazines and publications, and more than 30 types of fresh produce including carrots, tomatoes and apples. This is expected to eliminate about 1 billion items of plastic waste per year.

Emmanuel Macron called the plastic ban “a real revolution” and said France was taking the lead globally with the goal to phase out all single-use plastics by 2040. 

France has introduced a number of regulations including banning plastic packaging on several produce types.

According to a poll from World Wildlife Fund France 85 per cent of people were in favour of banning single-use plastic products and packaging in 2019.

Last year France introduced a wide ranging law meant to tackle climate change. The law bans short flights, requires vegetarian meals in schools and introduces incentives and quotas on housing and transportation that should lower emissions and cut waste. 

However, Macron faced criticism from environmentalists who say that the plastic ban is just not enough. Executive director of Greenpeace France Jean-François Julliard said the new law didn’t live up to “the emergency of the situation.”

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