Driving ban sought for polluted German cities
29 March 2005
BERLIN – Drivers in major German cities could be banned from the roads as a result of legal action being launched on Tuesday by an environmental group over diesel pollution which violates European Union limits.
European Union health laws say cities cannot have more than 50 micrograms of fine particle dust per square metre of air for more than 35 days a year. The Bavarian capital Munich has already logged its 36th day over this level in 2005.
Other German cities close to breaching the EU limit are Berlin, Frankfurt, Stuttgart and Dortmund.
The lobby group German Environment Aid (DUH) announced it was taking legal action in Munich aimed at forcing the city to take measures to reduce levels of particle dust.
Politicians in Munich are looking at closing down key streets, imposing a city-wide 30 kilometre per hour speed limit, or banning all vehicles on Sundays.
In the long-term, cleaner burning engines will be needed in Germany.
Diesel motors can be cleaned up by installing a filter system which cuts emission of dust particles by about 60 percent, tests show.
Up until now such filters, which cost about EUR 650, have not been mandatory in Germany. But this may soon change.
A leading German manufacturer of diesel filters, Twin-Tec, published full page ads in major newspapers at the weekend quoting a survey by Roland Berger Market Research showing 2.4 million German drivers would immediately install diesel filters if the government subsidized the cost with EUR 250 per car.
Diesel fuels costs less than normal petrol in Germany and the number of diesel cars has exploded since the development of turbo- diesel engines providing the same acceleration capabilities as normal car motors.
Last year almost 50 percent of the new motor vehicles registered in Germany had a diesel engine.
Subject: German news