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European city centres to ban cars ... except for Britain

CARS WILL be banned from city centres across Europe next week, but Britain will not join the initiative.

Designated areas of 166 towns and cities in France, Italy and Germany will become car free zones for the day on 22 September as part of an experiment into modal transport shifts. However, British cities will be absent from the EU funded scheme because they were approached too late.

Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott has been one of Europe's strongest advocates for cutting congestion in cities and improving air quality. But a spokesperson from his Department of the Environment Transport and the Regions said: 'We were approached in June and asked the Environmental Travel Association (ETA) if they could co-ordinate some involvement among local authorities, but it was too late in the day.'

The ETA - set up 10 years ago to promote green travel - said it would now start lobbying local authorities to make sure they do not miss next year's car-free day.

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