Hamburg is first German city to order diesel bans

May 23, 2018
Hamburg is banning some diesel vehicles from two major arteries to improve air quality

Authorities in Hamburg said Wednesday they would ban some diesel vehicles from two major arteries to improve air quality, making the German port city the first to take the long-feared step.

"Driving limits for older vehicles can now come into force as planned" thanks to a decision by a top court, the city-state's government said in a statement.

A 1,600-metre (one mile) section of the Stresemannstrasse highway in the Altona district will be closed to older diesel trucks from May 31.

Meanwhile both diesel-powered trucks and cars that do not meet the latest Euro 6 emissions standards will be banned from a 580-metre stretch of another major and heavily polluted road, the Max-Brauer-Allee.

Exemptions will be allowed for local residents and businesses as well as for delivery vehicles, ambulances and rubbish trucks.

The late February decision by Germany's top administrative court that cities could ban older diesels from certain roads to cut pollution has set drivers on edge.

Government officials have been scrambling for ways to improve without imposing bans.

They fear exclusion zones could disrupt citizens' lives and the economy as well as taking a massive bite out of the resale value of older diesels.

"We have a very concrete set of measures with the clear aim of cleaning up the air without limiting mobility," such as subsidies for electric vehicles and hardware refits to older diesel bus fleets, Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer told the Augsburger Allgemeine newspaper Wednesday.

While some 66 cities exceeded air pollution limits last year, Berlin aims to bring the number down "very quickly into the single digits," he said.

But sales of diesel cars have already slumped, following years of scandal around millions of vehicles rigged by car giant Volkswagen to fool regulators' emissions checks—with suspicion falling on other carmakers as well.

So far the government has rejected the idea of forcing automakers to pay to refit older diesels to meet the latest .

It is "not in our interest to weaken the with political measures so that it has no ability to invest in its own future," Chancellor Angela Merkel told parliament last week.

Germany's concern for its car industry finds short shrift in Brussels, where the European Commission said last week it was taking Germany and five other member nations to court over their failure to meet the bloc's air quality standards.

Explore further: Sales of diesel cars in Germany drop after court permits ban

Related Stories

Judges to rule on diesel bans in choking German cities

February 22, 2018

Judges are to rule Thursday on whether German cities can ban old diesel cars to reduce air pollution, with potentially dramatic consequences for a key industry and transport policy in Europe's largest economy.

German court could open way to bans on diesel cars

February 20, 2018

One of Germany's top courts will decide Thursday whether some diesel vehicles can be banned from parts of cities like Stuttgart and Duesseldorf to reduce air pollution, a possible landmark judgement for the "car nation".

Recommended for you

Robots as tools and partners in rehabilitation

August 17, 2018

In future decades, the need for effective strategies for medical rehabilitation will increase significantly, because patients' rate of survival after diseases with severe functional deficits, such as a stroke, will increase. ...

Security gaps identified in internet protocol IPsec

August 15, 2018

In collaboration with colleagues from Opole University in Poland, researchers at Horst Görtz Institute for IT Security (HGI) at Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB) have demonstrated that the internet protocol IPsec is vulnerable ...

Researchers find flaw in WhatsApp

August 8, 2018

Researchers at Israeli cybersecurity firm said Wednesday they had found a flaw in WhatsApp that could allow hackers to modify and send fake messages in the popular social messaging app.

2 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

michbaskett
not rated yet May 23, 2018
It's a start at least. Diesel engines are still nasty, poisonous contraptions and the best way to get rid of them is to get rid of them as quickly as possible. There is no such thing as clean diesel. Gasoline is bad enough, but diesel is just plain foul.
antialias_physorg
not rated yet May 23, 2018
Authorities in Hamburg said Wednesday they would ban some diesel vehicles from two major arteries to improve air quality, making the German port city the first to take the long-feared step.

'bout damn time. There's 70 cities that are above the legal limit and all politicians have had to say was "we have an idea to push that below 10"...and that idea has so far been...zilch.
Can't touch the holy grail of car manufacturers - noooo.

Meanwhile one "defeat device" after another is being uncovered (what was it this week? Audi and Porsche?).
Makes me want to puke.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.