Aachen set to ban diesel vehicles following court ruling

12 June 2018

12 June 2018

The German city of Aachen is likely to become the second in the country to introduce a ban on Euro 5 and lower diesel vehicles entering parts of the city.

The regional court has ruled that authorities in the area must implement a diesel ban in the city by January 2019 to allow the city to comply with EU air quality rules. The hearing was the first since the German administrative court ruled in February that such bans were legal and necessary, and comes after Hamburg introduced bans on selected streets within its limits.

During the hearing, the court criticised the .delaying policies of the state and the city,’ according to a statement posted by the country’s environmental group the DUH. Compliance with the limit even by 2020 is too late, it continued. The Administrative Court has ruled that the NO2 limit values ″‹″‹in Aachen must be adhered to no later than 1 January 2019. ‘It is currently not recognisable that this will succeed without diesel driving bans,’ said Judge Roitzheim at the hearing.

′We urge the state governments responsible for air pollution control to implement corresponding diesel driving bans directly for all cities and municipalities in Germany that also suffer from limit exceedances for the diesel exhaust gas NO2. Otherwise, the DUH will look to enforce clean air targets city by city,’ said JÜrgen Resch, CEO of DUH.

ClientEarth CEO James Thornton added: ′The domino effect we expected to see is now underway in earnest. February’s ruling in the Federal Administrative Court has made it absolutely clear – diesel restrictions are not only possible, but necessary, to bring illegal and harmful air pollution down in Germany’s towns and cities. We are anticipating similar outcomes across Germany in the coming months, as our other cases are heard.

′The German government must now be proactive. It is still fighting to protect diesel when evidence suggests even the newest models can be a health threat. The diesel debacle has gone on for far too long – we need a standardised national approach and leadership from the top.’

The two groups together have brought 28 legal actions in cities across Germany and said more cases will be heard over the next months.

The DUH considers the complete retrofitting of all ten million diesel passenger cars of the Euro 5 and 6 emission levels with new catalysts to be indispensable. This would then allow them to be exempt from driving bans, should such hardware updates bring emissions in line with the latest regulations.

′Retrofitting the diesel fleet with effective hardware could solve the problem of many people no longer being able to use their vehicles in city centres. For this reason, the Federal Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer must finally get through to manufacturers and make such action obligatory,’ said Resch.