Finds Judgment of Berlin Court Inadequate
Against the background of the air quality in Berlin, the judgment issued today by the Administrative Court is incomprehensible. The mean annual values recorded at the official monitoring stations in the German capital range between 41 and 49 micrograms per cubic meter of air and are thus (at most) 9 micrograms above the annual limit value of 40 micrograms per cubic meter. The hourly limit values are consistently met.
In accordance with the Air Pollution Control Plan for Berlin, it is expected that the limits will be met everywhere in the city as of 2020 – mainly by modernizing vehicle fleets. It is therefore questionable why driving bans should be appropriate on a total of about 15 kilometers.
Now the Berlin Senate must step up its efforts to improve air quality. Besides road traffic, other sectors – such as traffic on urban waterways – should be examined. The measures already foreseen by the Air Pollution Control Plan must be implemented rapidly and consistently. It is important that the numerous Euro 4 and Euro 5 vehicles on the city's roads – busses, municipal vehicles and veteran tourist busses, which often meet older Euro standards – are replaced swiftly.
The air in cities improves with every older vehicle replaced by a newer model. The latest-generation diesel vehicles are very clean and economical. The faster more vehicles meeting the Euro 6d Temp standard are put on the roads, the greater will be the progress toward better air quality – and more diesel vehicles mean an improved climate footprint for city traffic.
To further reduce NOx values fast, there are more intelligent and faster-acting measures than driving bans – such as making traffic flow more smoothly and steadily, using digital aids to find parking spots, and replacing taxi, transporter and bus fleets.
The discussion of the air quality in German cities should again be conducted overall in a more reasonable manner taking account of the subject's complexity.
Our foremost goal is still to avoid driving bans and to ensure continued individual mobility for many people. The most effective and fastest instruments for improving urban air quality are renewal of the vehicle population and software updates – both advocated by the automotive industry.