Munich has announced it will implement a ban on diesel vehicles, in its ongoing attempt to combat illegal air pollution. The mayor of the German city, who made the announcement, said he saw “no other way” to resolve the issue in the shortest possible timeframe.
The move follows a court judgment ordering the city to improve its air quality plans, the result of legal action pursued by Deutsche Umwelthilfe and ClientEarth.
The environmental lawyers and campaigners welcomed the move as a step in the right direction, but warn that excluding Euro 6 vehicles from the ban, as the mayor plans to, will present its own set of problems.
The trouble with Euro 6
CEO of Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH) Jürgen Resch said: “The diesel ban in Münich should actually apply to most Euro 6 diesel vehicles. Current measurements show even the latest Euro 6 models chart record nitrogen dioxide emissions – often these newer models are in fact many times more polluting than 10-year-old Euro 4 diesels. If the Bavarian government really intends to exempt Euro 6 diesel vehicles from the ban, we will address this in our ongoing legal action.”
ClientEarth CEO James Thornton said: “Announcing a diesel ban is progress – Münich is heading in the right direction. Diesel vehicles are the main culprit for the high levels of nitrogen dioxide pollution that chokes our towns and cities. However, more ambition is needed. Authorities must be bolder and face up to the realities of Euro 6 vehicle emissions.”
DUH plans to release new data in the coming days about the true extent of pollution from Euro 6 vehicles. Resch added: “The vast majority of the Euro 6 diesels currently in circulation are many times over the legal limit for nitrogen oxides (NOx). Those who want to keep driving in cities must under no circumstances buy a diesel car.”
Thornton added: “The mayor’s announcement today is testimony to the effectiveness of litigation in defending public health and achieving real change.”