A Federal court in Germany has ruled that polluting vehicles such as older diesels can be banned from the city centres of Stuttgart and Dusseldorf.
The ruling could set a precedent for other diesel bans in German cities (and possibly beyond Germany) and could accelerate a market move away from diesel technology in Europe.
The Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig said the cities of Stuttgart and Duesseldorf could legally ban more older, more polluting diesel cars from zones impacted by the worst air pollution.
The ruling by the country’s highest federal administrative court came after German states had appealed against bans imposed by local courts in Stuttgart and Duesseldorf in cases brought by environmental group DUH over poor air quality.
The DUH said bans were necessary after about 70 German cities exceeded European Union nitrogen oxide (NOx) levels limits last year.
The environmental campaigners are not necessarily seeking to outlaw diesels but to encourage carmakers to make cleaner vehicles.”This is a great day for clean air in Germany,” DUH managing director Juergen Resch said, “Once it is clear there will be driving bans the car industry will end its resistance against technical upgrades”.
“Bans are generally permissible and can be implemented in a way to avoid disproportionate effects,” Presiding Judge Andreas Korbmacher said in a statement.
The car industry has yet to respond to the ruling, but German OEMs have said that diesel technology is essential to enable carmakers to meet tighter CO2 emission rules from 2021.