Bonn, Cologne ordered to ban older diesel vehicles

The two cities in western Germany are the latest to be ordered by a court to impose diesel vehicle bans. The German government is under pressure to get old, polluting vehicles off the roads.

A German court has ruled that the western cities of Cologne and Bonn must ban old polluting diesel vehicles from the roads in order to improve air quality.

Nature and Environment | 30.10.2018

The ban must be introduced by April 2019. But the court decision has its detractors.

Read more: Older German diesels face reckoning

'A lot of disruption'

NRW State Environment Minister Ursula Heinen-Esser said authorities will file an appeal because the court "did not address the issue of proportionality."

"It will cause a lot of disruption for the transport infrastructure of the city of Cologne and have a significant impact on residents, commuters and the whole of Cologne as a business hub," Heinen-Esser said.

The ruling came as automobile executives met with German Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer on Thursday to find a way forward on diesel emissions in the country.

German carmaker BMW has rejected agreements to retrofit diesel vehicles, arguing it isn't the best way forward. The German government has also signaled its intention to avoid driving bans on diesel vehicles. Meanwhile, VW and Daimler have agreed to spend up to 3,000 euros ($3,430) per vehicle to help reduce diesel emissions.

Read more: EU car buyers foot the bill of new emissions test

Cars and Transportation

Too much traffic makes for bad air

Cities all over the world are fighting against smog. A German court has ruled that cities are allowed to impose driving bans. Many German cities — including Stuttgart, shown here — have developed an air pollution problem and are debating how best to approach the problem.

Cars and Transportation

Oslo, where the diesel ban is reality

A diesel ban is imposed in the Norwegian capital whenever air pollution levels rise above a prescribed limit. The ban went into effect for the first time on January 17, 2017. Ambulances and other public service vehicles running on diesel are exempt from the measure. The city plans to reduce even more cars by eliminating municipal parking spaces in the center starting in 2019.

Cars and Transportation

Paris is also planning a diesel ban

Starting in 2024, the French capital will ban diesel vehicles; in 2030 it intends to expand the ban to gas-powered cars. Vehicles manufactured before 1997 are already prohibited in the city on weekdays. When air pollution levels exceed prescribed limits, Parisians have to follow a rotation system in which only cars with either even- or odd-numbered plates are allowed to be driven in the city.

Cars and Transportation

London has a congestion charge

If you want to drive into the center of London, a day's ride through the city will cost you 10 pounds ($13.80, €11.20). London introduced the congestion charge in 2003. Automatic number plate recognition is used to enforce the measures. Anyone who does not pay the fee faces a heavy fine of up to 240 pounds.

Cars and Transportation

Copenhagen – the most bike-friendly city in the world

Copenhagen's mayor, Frank Jensen, wants to prevent new diesel cars from entering the city starting in 2019. Currently, over 300 kilometers of roads in the Danish capital can only be used by cyclists. With the new regulations, cycling will become easier, more convenient and cheaper than driving a car. About half of Copenhageners now cycle to work.

Cars and Transportation

Pedestrian zones spreading in Madrid

Car-free zones like the square in front of Madrid's Teatro Real are set to become a common sight in the city. Almost the entire center of the Spanish capital will be turned into pedestrian zones in the next five years. Madrid has high smog levels, due to being surrounded by mountains, which cause bad air to get trapped in the city.

Cars and Transportation

Helsinki offers a traffic app

Riding public transport will become even easier in the near future in Helsinki. In the next ten years, a mobility on demand system will be developed to include all forms of public transport in one app, including buses, self-driving cars and minibuses with flexible routes. The goal of the app is to be so good that no one will want to own a car.

Cars and Transportation

Driving electric rickshaws in Delhi

Smog chokes Delhi and levels of air pollution regularly go off the scale. Electric rickshaws will hopefully alleviate the problem. By 2030, all new vehicles will be electrically powered and the city will phase out gas powered vehicles.

German cities hit by bans

The Cologne Administrative Court ruling is the latest to remove diesel vehicles from the roads to reduce nitrogen dioxide levels.

Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH), an environmental organization, has filed nearly 30 cases against cities to force them to take polluting vehicles off the roads.

Related Subjects

Read more: Angela Merkel's coalition reaches deal on diesel crisis

Stuttgart, Aachen, Frankfurt, Mainz and Berlin also have court-ordered diesel vehicle bans. Hamburg has a limited diesel vehicle ban.

ls,cw/aw (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

Business

The disaster unfolds

About two weeks after Volkswagen admitted behind closed doors to US environmental regulators that it had installed cheating software in some 11 million of its diesel vehicles worldwide, the Environmental Protection Agency shared that information with the public. It was September 18, 2015. The ensuing crisis would eventually take a few unexpected turns.

Business

The boss must go, long live the boss

Volkswagen's then-CEO Martin Winterkorn (above) had little choice but to step down several days after news of the scandal broke. In September, he tendered his resignation, but retained his other posts within the Volkswagen Group. Winterkorn's successor was Matthias Müller. Until taking the reins at VW, Müller had been the chairman at Porsche, a VW subsidiary.

Business

Raiding headquarters

Regulators in the US weren't the only ones investigating VW. Authorities in Lower Saxony, the German state in which VW is based, were also scrutinizing the company. On October 8, state prosecutors raided VW's headquarters along with several other corporate locations.

Business

Hell breaks loose

On January 4, 2016, the US government filed a lawsuit against VW in Detroit, accusing the German automaker of fraud and violations of American climate protection regulations. The lawsuit sought up to $46 billion for violations of the Clean Air Act.

Business

Quit or forced out?

In March, the head of VW in the US, Michael Horn, resigned. In the initial days and weeks after the scandal broke, he was the one US authorities turned to for information. He issued an official apology on behalf of the automaker, asking for the public's forgiveness.

Business

Settlement

On October 25, a US judge approved a final settlement that would have VW pay $15.3 billion. In addition, affected cars would be retrofitted with better, non-deceptive hardware and software, or else VW would buy them back completely from customers.

Business

Imitators

When dieselgate first emerged in 2015, analysts said it was likely other car makers were also cheating tests. But it wasn't until 2017 that other companies were targeted in probes. In July, German authorities launched investigations into luxury car makers Porsche and Daimler for allegedly cheating emissions tests. Others, such as Audi and Chrysler, have also been hit by similar allegations.

Business

Public still supportive

Despite dieselgate, VW has managed to keep the emissions scandal from utterly tarnishing its image. According to several polls, between 55 to 67 percent of Germans continue to trust the automaker. In the US, polls show that roughly 50 percent still believe the German company produces worthwhile vehicles.

Business

Fuming over monkeys

In late January, however, VW suffered another heavy blow over reports that the company experimented on monkeys and made the animals inhale diesel fumes. To make matters worse, a separate experiment that had humans inhale relatively harmless nitrogen dioxide was revealed at the same time. Some media wrongly interpreted this to mean humans were also inhaling toxic fumes.

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