German cities are striving for cleaner air. Now, the City of Hamburg is first in Germany to introduce urban vehicle access restrictions on diesel vehicles. Two road sections will soon be closed to older diesel cars and lorries.
Starting on Thursday, the 31st of May 2018, diesel vehicles will face restrictions, as the Environmental Agency of Hamburg announced. Vehicles that do not meet Euro 6 standards will be affected. The two roads, which are closed for along parts of their length, are located in the city district of Altona-Nord. Re-routing and interdiction signposts have already been installed in the respective road sections. These are, according to Hamburg’s clean air act, a 580 m strip of the Max-Brauer-Allee as well as a 1.6 km long strip of the Stresemannstraße. The latter however “bans” only lorries and not cars. Rescue vehicles, residents of the road sections and their visitors, delivery vehicles, taxis as well as public service vehicles are exempt from the restriction scheme. All in all, about 168,000 Hamburg-resident diesel vehicle drivers are affected by the new restrictions, which will also apply to non-residents.
Hamburg had planned to introduce access restrictions earlier, but City authorities had to carefully evaluate the judgment from the Federal Administrative Court announced in February 2018 which allowed access restrictions for diesel vehicles, first.
The German environmental organisation BUND welcomes the introduction of diesel access restrictions as a first step into the right direction but states that they are not suitable for achieving the goal of improved air conditions in this form. The BUND calls for area-wide access restrictions to ease the living conditions of people and not single road section restrictions easing the load of single measurement points only. The way Hamburg introduces the diesel restrictions leads only to redistribution of car traffic and not to a reduction of emissions at the general city or city district level according to them. BUND calls for introducing environmental zones for nitrogen oxides additional to the existing ones counteract particulate matter loads in German cities and is currently analysing legal steps to push for such more advanced restrictions in Hamburg.
Story first published by “welt.de” on 23rd of May 2018
- Publication date
- 24 May 2018
- Traffic and demand management