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30 May 2023

Limit car ownership by salary in UAE: Dubai official

By Eudore R Chand

The Director General of Dubai Municipality now wants a federal law to restrict ownership of cars.

“The problem is too many cars on the roads. It is not just Dubai [issue] alone. The whole UAE has to consider,” Hussain Nasser Lootah, told Emirates 24|7.

Alarmed by the rising level of pollution in city’s major roads, he has suggested that ownership of cars be restricted via a federal law.

He recommends that people above a certain [undefined as yet] salary bracket should be allowed to own a car.

Another restriction could be on the number of cars owned per family.

“We can also limit the number of cars on the roads by considering the size of the family,” Lootah said.

Lootah’s recommendations seem to have been dealt a blow with the Federal Traffic Council approving the lowering of the driving age to 17 from 18 – meaning more drivers on the roads.

This is in addition to the expected increase in new drivers because of population growth ahead of World Expo 2020.

The Expo is projected to create 277,000 new jobs.

Even if a quarter of these have families, it is fair to assume that a significant proportion of these new job entrants would aspire to drive.

Asked how his suggestions could be implemented in face of growing driver population and opposition from both car agencies and driving aspirants, Lootah was unfazed.

“Nobody can stop business. But you have to consider what you want. What is a priority – traffic jams and pollution on the roads, or business?”

However, the Dubai Municipality Director General pointed out that air quality is under pressure.

“It [car emissions] is the main pollutant. Parked cars with running engines cause more pollution.”

He pointed out that Dubai Municipality constantly checks air pollution in the city, but did not provide any figures on how big the problem is.

Asked if the problem of pollution can be solved by other means or systems other than restricting car ownership, Lootah explained that as far as systems go, air quality is constantly monitored.

Plus there are strict specifications on the quality of cars that are allowed to be imported.

Additionally, cars have to undergo comprehensive testing each year, including the level of pollution they cause.

“Additionally, we have buses, Metro and the Abra – we are creating a smart ‘green’ city. We have to prepare ourselves for the future. There are a lot of challenges and we need to be ready for them.

“The problem is not in the systems or the roads. There are just too many cars on the roads,” Lootah said.