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German cities sceptical of plans to ban diesel cars on some streets

Europe
24.02.2018
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Berlin (dpa) - The interest group representing German cities has reacted sceptically to plans to restrict older diesel cars to driving on only certain streets.

"The federal government now apparently wants cities to make the decision on bans, which should then apply to individual streets," Helmut Dedy, the head of Deutscher Staedtetag, told dpa on Saturday.

The plan creates more questions than it answers, he said.

If individual streets are blocked for older diesel models, traffic will just go around those areas, he said. The plan would just move hazardous substances to other parts of the city and can‘t be implemented easily.

A German court is to rule next week on whether bans on heavy-polluting diesel vehicles to help improve air quality in urban centres can be legally enforced by local authorities.

The court is considering whether cities have the right to mandate the bans without nationally standardized rules in order to maintain pollution limits.

However, the court will not itself impose so-called driving bans.

If driving bans are allowed by the Federal Administrative Court to protect people‘s health, then a rule that is enforced federally using special stickers is needed, Dedy said.

The threat of diesel vehicle bans in urban areas has sent shock waves across the German car industry, which is still grappling with the emissions scandal that emerged in September 2015 when Volkswagen admitted to installing emissions-cheating software in vehicles.

 

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