Dirty diesels banned from 2 Hamburg streets

Amidst the negative hype over diesel engines, Hamburg has become the first German city to ban older diesel vehicles from two of its city streets.

The Hamburg ban comes into effect on the 31st May, and applies to diesel vehicles that do not meet Euro-VI standards.

The ban is to stop around 168,000 cars from using the Max Brauer Allee. However the Stresemannstrasse ban is only applicable to trucks. Fines for breaching the ban will be €25 per car and €75 for trucks.

The ban comes on the heels of the German Federal Court clarifying the law on the power of local authorities having the power to institute such bans. The ruling will irritate Chancellor Angela Merkel and her coalition government, who have been opposed to banning vehicles from the road.

The environmental lobbying group ClientEarth – which has successfully challenged German and UK authorities over their approach to air pollution – has welcomed the news. In a statement, 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.

“Now, Merkel and Scheuer need to put in place regulations to ensure harmonised restrictions across Germany and force car manufacturers to implement effective hardware retrofits. 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 Germany risks being left behind if it does not act now.”