Clarity expected on diesel driving bans

clarity expected on diesel driving bans

Before the landmark hearing at the federal administrative court on driving bans for diesel cars in cities, the demand for the introduction of a blue sticker is growing louder. "The federal government, at least the ministry of transport, seems to be sitting the issue out.

That ends up in our town halls, and that’s not where it belongs," helmut dedy, chief executive of the german city council, told the german press agency. If the court rules that driving bans are permissible, there will be a political debate about the introduction of a blue sticker.

"I don’t see any alternative to the blue badge then," dedy said. Then we can distinguish between new technology and old diesel cars. "For us it would be the only way to distinguish between the worse and the better vehicles. And only if you can distinguish, you can also reasonably deal with a possible driving ban."

With a blue sticker, modern diesels with the latest euro 6 emissions standard were exempt from driving bans. The federal government has so far rejected the introduction of such a sticker.

The association of municipal companies issued an urgent warning against possible driving bans. Grunen faction deputy oliver krischer accused the federal government of massive failures.

The federal administrative court in leipzig will hear the case on 22. February on the question of whether diesel driving bans are legally permissible. Pollutant limits are not being adhered to in many cities, diesel cars are considered the main culprit. A ruling as early as thursday is considered possible.

"We do not want driving bans. But if the states have to include them in clean air plans because the courts say so, then we have to be able to act in the affected cities. But as things stand, driving bans for older diesel vehicles cannot be controlled effectively at all," said dedy. The police agree. "In view of the staffing levels, we have to confine ourselves to core tasks", said the deputy head of the police union (gdp), arnold plickert, to "welt am sonntag". "Anyone who thinks we can permanently enforce such bans is mistaken."At best, spot checks are conceivable.

Greenpeace spokesman niklas schinerl said: "the federal government will not be able to shirk its responsibility in the cities’ fight against diesel emissions for long."But the leipzig decision will not end the uncertainty for millions of motorists. "In order to know which car will be allowed to drive in which city in the future, we need a standardized national tool like the blue sticker"."

Grunen-fraktionsvize krischer criticized, the federal government tries for years to sit out the problem of the bad air in inner cities. Instead of holding the car industry responsible for making the dirty diesels clean through technical retrofits, there is now the threat of driving bans ordered by the courts. "Driving bans are the consequence of this federal government’s policies."The grand coalition must realize that the leipzig ruling is the last wake-up call to force the auto industry to make improvements at their expense and to introduce the blue badge.

For a long time, there have been serious concerns among leading municipal associations and in affected cities about possible driving bans – which could apply to particularly congested stretches of road or urban areas and for specific periods of time. "If there are driving bans in germany, it will have a profound impact on municipal life, on municipal infrastructure, on jobs and the economy," VKU president and mayor of mainz michael ebling told dpa.

The federal administrative court is hearing a so-called "jump appeal" on rulings by the administrative courts of stuttgart and dusseldorf. Baden-wurttemberg and north rhine-westphalia had gone to revision. They argued that there is legal uncertainty about driving bans, and that there is a lack of nationwide legal regulation.

According to the rulings of the lower courts, stuttgart and dusseldorf must tighten their air pollution control plans to comply with limits. The stuttgart court called driving bans the "most effective" way of reducing emissions. Dusseldorf court ruled driving bans for diesel vehicles had to be "seriously considered.

The lawsuit was filed by deutsche umwelthilfe. Their managing director jurgen resch told dpa: "if the federal administrative court agrees with us and rejects the appeals, there is no longer any argument for cities and federal states to say they can’t act." There will not be "roadblocks" the next day. "A clear decision, however, would certainly lead to a concrete design of the diesel driving bans for the affected cities by the summer and to their implementation within a few months."

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