A top administrative court in Germany has ruled that cities have the right to ban diesel motors, in an attempt to improve air quality. The decision decided in favour of upholding bans that were introduced by lower courts in the cities of Stuttgart and Düsseldorf, two of the most polluted cities in Germany.
The court stated that it would be up to each city and municipal authority to apply the ban, but advised that it be imposed gradually and allow for exemptions for certain vehicles such as rubbish collection and those used by emergency services.
This decision could potentially affect up 12 million vehicles in Germany, and deliver a blow to Europe’s largest car market. With the diesel market already struggling this is set to make it even tougher.
However this call to clean up the cities air also needs to be met with a campaign to promote the use of public transport, as a recent study showed that 70% of German’s use their car daily or several times a week. Only 14% regularly commute by public transport. Without an increased emphasis on public transport, commuters are more likely to switch to petrol vehicles rather than utilising public transport, diminishing the efforts of the government to clean up the air.