German road at sunset

German Federal Government must build on Environment Minister’s new diesel retrofits proposal

Germany’s Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze has proposed that car manufacturers pay for hardware retrofits on diesel cars to reduce emissions of harmful pollutants and help improve air quality. She has also called on the Federal Transport Minister to introduce uniform rules for such technical fixes.

Reacting to this proposal, ClientEarth lawyer Ugo Taddei said: “We have been calling on the German Federal government for a long time to show leadership in cleaning up Germany’s air and hold car manufacturers accountable for the air pollution problems they have helped create. Minister Schulze is right to call for the industry to pay for the retrofits. We want this plan to become reality as soon as possible.

“The Federal government must now build on this momentum and ensure car manufacturers pay for retrofitting diesel cars. They must also introduce uniform rules for low emission zones in Germany’s illegally polluted towns and cities, restricting access to all diesel vehicles that do not comply with emission limits on the road.

“Up until today, German citizens have only been able to rely on courts to protect their right to clean air, while the authorities have stubbornly opposed all solutions to the air pollution problem. Chancellor Merkel now has the opportunity to improve her track record and start fighting to protect the health of German citizens, rather than the interests of a discredited car industry.”

ClientEarth and Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH) are fighting to protect the rights of German citizens to breathe clean air across the country. In February 2018, ClientEarth and DUH were successful before the Federal Administrative Court in upholding court-ordered diesel bans.

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