Monday 25/03/2019 - 01:08 am

Germany is car-obsessed. Now, a court is letting cities ban diesel cars to curb pollution

2018.02.27 03:12

Germanys top administrative court has ruled that it is legal for cities to ban diesel cars. The government opposes the bans, but is under pressure from the EU to do more to combat air pollution.

Germanys Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig ruled on Tuesday that cities may be permitted to put driving bans in place for diesel vehicles.

The ruling does not determine whether the bans will be implemented, but rather whether German states, cities and communities have the right to impose them to maintain air pollution limits without needing federal legislation.

The decision concerned two earlier court rulings in Stuttgart and Düsseldorf, the capital cities of the German states of Baden-Württemberg and North Rhine-Westphalia, where air pollution massively exceeds allowable levels. The environmental and consumer watchdog Environmental Action Germany (DUH) took both cities to court, saying they hadnt done enough to combat emissions.

The court in Stuttgart said driving bans were the "most effective" means to improve air quality and safeguard health in urban areas, while the Düsseldorf court found the bans had to be "seriously examined."
German drivers anxious over bans

The German government and the countrys influential car industry oppose the diesel driving bans.

Millions of German drivers and businesses have also been anxiously awaiting the courts decision, with many concerned about their disrupted driving routes and a possible devaluation of their vehicles.

Still, facing possible legal action from the European Union over the Germanys air quality, the German government is preparing alternatives. The Transport Ministry could update traffic regulations to include an option for cities to impose diesel bans on certain routes later this year.

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