Sunday, July 30, 2017

German Court Orders Ban of Diesel Cars to Reduce Air Pollution

A judge in the German court of Stuggart has ordered a ban on polluting diesel cars from entering the city January 2018. This comes after the current Air Quality Plan written by the government of Stuggart was deemed inadequate to bring down air pollution within legal limits.

Stuttgart is home to car makers Porsche, Mercedes-Benz and auto suppliers Bosch and Mahle.

In response to Stuttgart having the worst Air Pollution in Germany, the government drew up a draft Air Quality Plan. Environmental lawyers ClientEarth took the government to court arguing that although it contained some positive measures it did not go far enough to restrict pollution.

"The judge has clarified that a diesel ban is unavoidable," ClientEarth lawyer Ugo Taddei said in a statement. "Stuttgart's authorities must now find rapid and effective ways to solve the region's air quality issues. This should include a more structured approach that acknowledges the emissions issues with diesel vehicles - it must also not put undue confidence in what retrofitting can achieve."

This move comes before the August 2nd summit where Germany’s powerful VDA auto industry, lobby which supports diesel, would meet to talk about changes to make. 

"There are more intelligent solutions than a total ban," VDA said, adding they are expecting an appeal at the Federal Administrative Court to reach a different conclusion to the Stuttgart court.

Car makers such as Daimler has said they would reduce their nitric oxide emissions with software updates. However, Wolfgang Kern, the presiding judge at the Stuggart court, said in his ruling,” Stuttgart must ensure emissions limits were met as soon as possible and said software-based retrofits of diesel cars were insufficient and would come too late.

Elsewhere, the mayors of Paris, Madrid, Mexico City, and Athens plan to ban diesel vehicles by 2025. Sweden’s Volvo states this month that all car models after 2019 would be electric or hybrid.