Stuttgart announces diesel driving ban from January 2019

11 July 2018

11 July 2018

Stuttgart has announced that it will implement a driving ban on diesel vehicles beginning in January 2019, although the rules will only apply to Euro 4 vehicles and older.

Discussions concerning a ban, which is the second confirmed in the country following the implementation of restrictions in Hamburg, were announced in June 2018. The city has also stated that those living in the area will have a grace period until April 2019 to allow them to swap their vehicles for ones which are exempt from the rules.

The coalition partners in the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg are following advice from the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig earlier in February this year. The German environmental lobby group DUH took legal action against the city over its high levels of air pollution, and won its case, meaning Stuttgart needed to implement bans or find an alternative solution to its poor air quality.

It is believed the ban will only cover certain areas of the city. This includes a section of about 580 metres on Max-Brauer-Allee, covering all diesel vehicles conforming to Euro 1-4 standards, and a section of about one mile on Stresemannstrasse will also face restrictions, but it will only apply to commercial vehicles weighing 3.5 tonnes or more.

The CDU party has presented a number of alternatives to bans, and these will still be investigated to help the city reduce pollution. These include an innovative road surface which traps the gases and keeps them from the air, as well as a noise barrier which will also act as a filter, trapping nitrogen oxide (NOx) particles and fine dust.

According to figures from the Federal Motor Transport Authority (as of January 1, 2018), in the Stuttgart region, Böblingen, Esslingen, Göppingen, Ludwigsburg and the Rems-Murr district, a total of 534,573 diesel cars are registered. 34% of them are on the road with Euro 5 standards, which corresponds to 183,358 cars. In addition, there are 188,163 Euro 1-4 diesel cars on the road, corresponding to a share of 35% of all diesel vehicles. Therefore, 163,052 diesel vehicles correspond to Euro 6 specifications.

Stuttgart has been mulling a diesel ban for over a year. In April 2017, the Green Party’s Minister President of Baden-WÜrttemberg, Winfried Kretschmann, has said in an interview with the newspaper Stuttgarter Zeitung that a proposed diesel driving ban in Stuttgart from 2018 was ‘not carved in stone.’ The retrofitting of older diesel cars to meet the Euro 6 emissions standard was seen as pivotal in the final decision on the proposals.