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Alpine countries battle pollution

The alpine countries should work together to reduce damage to the climate by making polluters pay, Environment Minister Moritz Leuenberger said on Thursday.

He told an alpine conference in the French town of Evian that the Swiss idea for a reservation system for heavy goods trucks crossing the Alps – known as the Alpine Crossing Exchange – would reduce CO2 emissions in the narrow alpine valleys.

But he stressed that Switzerland was not planning to cut the number of trucks crossing its territory at the expense of its neighbours.

Leuenberger and his counterparts from Austria, France, Germany, Liechtenstein, Italy and Slovenia discussed various ways of implementing a climate action plan that has been agreed.

Following a German proposal, the alpine countries will also look for ways to make the area climate neutral by 2050.

A Swiss tourism project was among those given an award by the conference.

Cultural Routes of Switzerland, which encourages visitors to use public transport or to hike while discovering a region's natural beauty, history and local specialities, was praised for its innovative and sustainable approach.

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