hamburg pedestrian street

Germany’s first diesel ban will be in force by May 31

The City of Hamburg’s much-anticipated diesel ban will be in force from the end of this month, it was announced today. The bans, on two of Hamburg’s major thoroughfares, are a first for Europe. One prevents any car that does not meet Euro 6 emissions standards from using the road – both prevent pre-Euro VI trucks from entering.

It comes just after the German Federal court published its landmark ruling, providing legal clarity on the power of local authorities to ban diesel vehicles.

Reacting to the news, ClientEarth lawyer Ugo Taddei said: “The publication of the Federal Court’s ruling last week unquestionably clarified the powers of German cities to ban diesel vehicles.

“Hamburg has seized the opportunity, wasting no time in establishing itself as the frontrunner. This will unavoidably trigger other cities to do the same, creating a domino effect across Germany and potentially throughout Europe.

“We must make sure diesel bans are planned intelligently and do not simply displace pollution. Merkel and Scheuer urgently need to put in place regulations to force car manufacturers to implement effective hardware retrofits and ensure harmonised restrictions across Germany. This is where Federal leadership is crucial.

“The German Federal government has been condemned by its top court, taken to the EU court by the European Commission and now overtaken in ambition by Hamburg. How much more embarrassment will it take for them to stop dragging their feet and start showing leadership to fight air pollution and protect people? The clean mobility transition is underway and Germany risks being left behind if it does not act now.

“Taking bold measures at national level to reduce diesel pollution would start to move the economy past dirty diesel and onto cleaner technologies.”


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Francesco Ronge