The decision by the country’s top court may cause travel chaos and affect the value of diesel cars
One of the highest courts in Germany has ruled that the country’s major cities can now ban heavily polluting vehicles from their urban centres. The landmark decision may lead to traffic chaos as well as dramatically affecting the value of diesel cars.
The ruling followed a case brought by environmental group DUH over poor air quality in the cities of Stuttgart and Düsseldorf. The group managed to enact a ban on diesel cars in local courts against which German states appealed.
The German government, led by chancellor Angela Merkel, has spoken out against the ban, fearing it would hugely disrupt the lives of diesel car owners. Currently, around 12 million diesel cars are in use in the country.
The ruling by the country’s highest federal administrative court rejected the appeals and ordered Düsseldorf and Stuttgart authorities to amend their anti-pollution plans.
“This is a great day for clean air in Germany,” DUH managing director Jürgen Resch told public broadcaster Bayern 2.
“Once it is clear there will be driving bans the car industry will end its resistance against technical upgrades,” he continued.
The ruling follows a global backlash against diesel-powered cars caused by the Volkswagen scandal known as Dieselgate. The car manufacturer admitted to cheating with emissions measurements in 2015.
Around 70 German cities in total have been found to exceed European Union nitrogen oxide limits. Instead of supporting the ban, Merkel’s ministers have offered a €1 billion fund, partly paid for by the industry, to improve public transport and upgrade fleets to electric buses.
While the car industry has yet to respond to the ruling, it indicates that diesel car manufacturers will need to implement large modifications on their vehicles which could result in a price increase.