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FRANCE

Speed limits tightened in Paris, Lille on third day of high pollution

Paris submerged in smog in March
Paris submerged in smog in March Reuters/Gonzalo Fuentes

Speed limits were reduced 20kmph in the Paris region and north-west France on Friday and limits imposed on lorries passing through the capital on the third day of high pollution Friday.

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Authorities in Paris, the surrounding Ile de France region and the northern region around Lille lowered speed limits by 20kmph on Friday as sunshine, heavy traffic and agricultural work combined with the absence of wind to push up the level of fine particles in the air.

Heavy goods vehicles not delivering in Ile de France were ordered to stay out.

The last three days have seen the second episode of high pollution in three weeks, leading Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo to call for the speeding up of procedures to allow for limits on cars entering the city on the basis of their licence plates.

She and Ile-de-France president Jean-Paul Hucon also demanded to be involved in decisions, which are currently taken by the prefect of police, to fight pollution in the region.

Hidalgo said Thusday that she would ask for licence-plate limits to be introduced if the situation had not improved by Saturday but forecasts on Friday predicted a fall in pollution levels then.

Environment Minister Ségolène Royal said that no-one could ""impose or demand" alternate circulation in response to Hidalgo and Huchon but on Thursday evening she promised to ask experts to propose changes to the procedures.

Runners were hoping that the pollution level would fall by Sunday when the Paris marathon is due to take place.

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