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Va Va Vélo! Car adverts in France will have to promote cycling and walking under new law

Macron Government wants to encourage people to ditch their cars for everyday journeys

“Va Va Vélo!” as former Arsenal and France star striker Thierry Henry may have to say in any future adverts for Renault – from 1 March, car adverts in France will be required to promote cycling and walking and other sustainable forms of travel.

Under the new government regulations aimed at reducing pollution, including vehicle emissions, people will also be encouraged to car-share or to take public transport.

The new rules were signed into law by a decree of the Ministry for Ecological Transition on Wednesday 29 December, reports

They will apply to advertising across all major media – print, TV, radio, billboards and online – with ads carrying one of three messages.

Those are “For short journeys, prioritise walking or cycling,” “Think about car-sharing” and “On a daily basis, take public transport.”

The messages are similar to those already found in advertising for some foods and drinks, such as “Avoid eating too much fat, sugar or salt.”

The adverts are aimed at encouraging consumers to pollute less by leaving their car at home and travelling by greener options, particularly for everyday journeys, with France’s transport sector accounting for 31 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions in France, half of that from private cars.

Besides the three slogans mentioned above, car manufacturers will also have to add a hashtag #SeDéplacerMoinsPolluer – roughly, #GetAroundPollutingLess – to all publicity.

In the event of a breach, the advertiser will first be put on notice, then subject to a fine of €50,000 for each transmission.

President Macron’s government also plans to ban all adverts for the most polluting cars – those emitting more than 123 grams of C02 per kilometre – by 2028.

Other environmentally friendly initiatives being taken to try and reduce waste and greenhouse gases include plastic packaging around most fruit and vegetables being banned from tomorrow – instead they will have to be sold in sustainable packaging such as cardboard.

Fast food outlets will not be allowed to provide plastic toys to children under offers such as McDonald’s Happy Meals under the new measures, and magazines and newspapers will no longer be permitted to be wrapped in plastic when posted to consumers.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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