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Stuttgart diesel restriction unlikely to satisfy court

Under sustained court pressure, Stuttgart has announced it will bring in a citywide ban on older diesel vehicles by the start of 2019 – but refused to follow the court’s demand to apply the ban to residents too, or schedule a restriction of all but the newest diesels.

ClientEarth and Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH), which brought the original legal action because of illegal levels of nitrogen dioxide air pollution in the city, say the plan outlined is a step forward, but have deplored Baden-Württemberg’s lack of respect for court rulings.

They believe delaying restrictions on Euro 5 diesel vehicles – those sold between September 2009 and September 2015 – fails to meet an order from the Stuttgart administrative court.

ClientEarth lawyer Ugo Taddei said: “A citywide ban on diesel cars up to Euro 5 in the home of German diesel sends a strong message – both in Germany and across Europe. But the vague plan to ‘see how it goes’ before banning Euro 5 vehicles is sloppy.

“The court made it plain and simple – Stuttgart’s authorities cannot duck their legal duty to bring air pollution down to legal levels. This proposal still does not look like it will meet the court’s standards and we expect to see a fine imposed. The fight for clean air stops only when we have decent, ambitious pledges to bring pollution down.”

DUH CEO Jürgen Resch said: “In the end, it’s Daimler, Porsche and Bosch that are deciding air quality policy in Baden-Württemberg. Baden-Württemberg, like Bavaria, is taking the serious health issues caused by dirty air far too lightly and outright ignoring the rule of law. We are keeping up our pressure in the courts to help the people who have long suffered with illegal levels of air pollution.”

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Max Boettinger