Cities in Germany now have the right to ban diesel vehicles within their city limits, according to a new court ruling that had been long expected. Hamburg is the first town to take advantage of the new situation, putting the industry under yet more pressure.
The court in Leipzig has decreed, that municipalities are allowed to place comprehensive bans on driving older diesel vehicles in their city limits. However, a state-wide regulation, that is on the federal level has not been introduced.
The decision presents a great success for the environmental regulation efforts made by the ecological organisation Deutsche Umwelthilfe, who had sued the cities Stuttgart and Düsseldorf to improve their clean air plan and thus instigated the current court order.
The industry now must retro-fit their diesel vehicles with appropriate exhaust purifiers, according to Jürgen Resch, the head of Umwelthilfe.
But the bans themselves are not expected soon. The decision allows for transition periods, as well as a phased integration. In Stuttgart, it will not be possible to make any changes before September 2018, for example. There may also be space in the decision for exceptions, such as for craftsmen driving around in white vans.
It was also decided, that there will be no financial compensation by cities, as “certain financial losses are to be expected,” according to Andreas Korbmacher, the presiding judge on the case. It is now in the hands of the relevant state authorities to locally integrate the laws and prevent a “patchwork” legal coverage in the country.
Hamburg will be the first city to introduce a ban and is just waiting for the signage to arrive. Two streets will then be diesel-free.
electrive.net (in German)
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