German cities have been granted the right to legally ban diesel vehicles, following a new ruling by the country’s Federal Administrative Court.
Stuttgart and Düsseldorf were given permission by the country’s highest court to prevent older, higher-polluting models from driving into certain areas, opening the door for other cities to take action of their own to cut emissions.
Like the UK, Germany is facing a growing urban nitrogen oxide pollution problem that has been linked to the dominance of diesel cars on its roads. Last year, around 70 of the country’s cities exceed EU limits for NOx.
The German government opposes the banning of vehicles from city centres because of the impact it can have on economic productivity and lower-income drivers, who are more likely to use older vehicles.
Germany’s tough stance against diesel comes in the wake of the Volkswagen emission scandal, which came to light in 2015 when the company was found to be using emissions test cheat software. It has been one of Europe’s most outspoken countries on the subject.
Manufacturers have begun withdrawing diesel models from their line-ups due to the shrinking demand for such vehicles.
The average new car last year emitted 121g/km of CO2, up from 120.1g/km in 2016, meaning the impact the average car tailpipe emissions have grown for the first time in two decades.