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Lawyers launch fresh legal action to hold Stuttgart to diesel bans

Stuttgart has come under fresh legal pressure to put diesel bans in place, after authorities failed to confirm they would comply with February’s landmark Federal court ruling in Leipzig.

Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH) has launched an enforcement action, compelling Baden-Württemberg’s authorities to follow the original (and now enforceable) ruling from the regional court, which said Stuttgart was obliged to put diesel restrictions in place. DUH, and partners ClientEarth, say no further time must be lost.

ClientEarth clean air lawyer Ugo Taddei said: “The time for hesitation is over. The Federal Administrative Court’s ruling was unequivocal: Stuttgart is under obligation to put diesel restrictions in place. The Baden-Württemberg authorities must immediately update the air quality plan in line with the court’s order or face another defeat in court. We will not stop this legal battle until people in Stuttgart are breathing clean air.”

DUH CEO Jürgen Resch said: “A proposal for an actionable diesel ban in Stuttgart is ready and waiting. After the botched attempt to appeal the original ruling, it’s now time that bans on dirty diesel are put in place in Stuttgart, so that people can finally stop suffering from the effects of harmful diesel exhaust fumes.”

Lawyer Remo Klinger said: “Recent air quality cases have made it clear that authorities complying with the law is not always a given. We feel we have a duty to launch this enforcement action, to make sure the regional government complies with the ruling of the highest German court.”

DUH wrote to the Baden-Württemberg authorities at the start of March to make sure diesel bans would be taken up immediately in Stuttgart’s air quality plan. The authorities confirmed the bans were slated, but said they would need to go through a parliamentary debate, which could jeopardise the decision. When pressed for confirmation on whether diesel bans would be introduced regardless, no satisfactory response was given before DUH’s deadline. DUH has therefore submitted an enforcement action of the original judgment of 19 July 2017.

DUH and ClientEarth are bringing a wave of legal cases over poor air quality in Germany. There are ten joint cases open, and a further nine brought by DUH independently.

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