Aachen diesel ban by January

The city of Aachen is set to be the second city in Germany to institute a ban on diesel vehicles in part of its urban area. It follows Hamburg in taking action to clear its air.

The Aachen regional court ruled this week that the authorities must institute a diesel ban by January next year. It follows legal action by Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH) and environmental lawyers ClientEarth.

In a statement, ClientEarth said: “Today’s hearing in Aachen was Germany’s first clean air hearing since the landmark Leipzig decision, which clarified that diesel bans can be implemented by regional authorities where air pollution exceeds legal limits. Environmental lawyers say it has set the direction for all German clean air cases still waiting to be heard – and the deadline may be a blueprint for other courts.”

ClientEarth CEO James Thornton commented: “The domino effect we expected to see is now underway in earnest. February’s ruling in the Federal Administrative Court was made it absolutely clear – diesel restrictions are not only possible, but necessary, to bring illegal and harmful air pollution down in Germany’s towns and cities. We are anticipating similar outcomes across Germany in the coming months, as our other cases are heard.

“The German government must now be proactive. It is still fighting to protect diesel when evidence suggests even the newest models can be a health threat. The diesel debacle has gone on for far too long – we need a standardised national approach and leadership from the top.”

DUH CEO Jürgen Resch said: “We call on all regional governments currently struggling with illegally dirty air to put in equivalent diesel restrictions. Otherwise we will legally enforce these standards, town by town. The regional court has confirmed that these measures are both and proportionate and beneficial for the quality of life in Aachen, which its leadership has previously refused to accept.”