Currently reading: Hamburg older diesel car ban begins 31 May
Hamburg has begun putting up diesel ban signage after ruling from Germany's highest court declares that older, more polluting cars can be banned from city centres
Sam Sheehan
News
3 mins read
23 May 2018

Hamburg authorities have announced that a ban of diesel cars of the Euro-5 standard and older will take place from the end of the month. City officials erected signage last week for its ban on diesel vehicles in certain areas of the city, as the country's air quality measures and backlash against diesel steps up a notch. 

Officials from the north German city were awaiting a court ruling as to whether they could ban cars up to and including Euro 5 diesels, or extend to pre-Euro-6 cars (pre-2014). The less strict ban will be implemented.

The ban will come into effect on 31 May, with around 100 signs already in place directing older diesels away from two streets in the city, suggesting alternative routes. Critics suggest that this may be counter-intuitive, forcing older, dirtier diesels to drive further in the city centre to get to their destination.

The news comes after the European Commission announced it would be referring Germany, the UK and several other EU member states to the Court of Justice over lax air quality measures.

City councils in Germany were granted the right to legally ban diesel vehicles from their centres, following a new ruling by the country’s Federal Administrative Court in February.

Stuttgart and Düsseldorf were given permission by the country’s highest court to prevent older, higher-polluting models from driving into certain areas, opening the door for other cities to take action of their own to cut emissions.

Like the UK, Germany is facing a growing urban nitrogen oxide pollution problem that has been linked to the dominance of diesel cars on its roads. Last year, around 70 of the country’s cities exceed EU limits for NOx.

Volkswagen boss: German city diesel ban is 'scary and unnecessary'

The German Government opposes the banning of vehicles from city centres because of the impact it can have on economic productivity and lower-income drivers, who are more likely to use older vehicles.

Germany’s tough stance against diesel comes in the wake of the Dieselgate scandal, which came to light in 2015 when Volkswagen was found to be using emissions test cheat software. It has been one of Europe’s most outspoken countries on the subject. 

Several UK councils have also pushed for a more heavy-handed approach to emissions regulation. Oxford has proposed a combustion engine ban from its centre from 2020, while London (pictured above) recently introduced a T-Charge for the most toxic of vehicles.

This anti-diesel stance has caused sales of oil-burners to tumble, plummeting by 25% in the UK in January compared with the same month last year.

Manufacturers have begun withdrawing diesel models from their line-ups as demand shrinks, with Porsche removing its last two current diesel cars from sale earlier this year.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Find an Autocar review

Read our review

Car review
BMW 3 Series

The BMW 3 Series' outstanding performance and handling makes it a complete and consummate all-rounder - but then the Jaguar XE and Alfa Romeo Guilia arrived

Back to top

Although environmental activists have celebrated this change, new Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders figures show that CO2 figures are now on the up as people switch from diesel to petrol cars.

The average new car last year emitted 121g/km of CO2, up from 120.1g/km in 2016, meaning the impact the average car tailpipe has on global warming has grown for the first time in two decades.

More content:

The price we'll pay for improve emissions testing

BMW M3 F80 axed due to emissions test

Join the debate

Comments
15
Add a comment…
405line 23 May 2018

What about...

...Wolfsburg?

xxxx 23 May 2018

Diesel ships

But there's no real alternative with ships at the moment, there is with cars especially with diesel supermini's etc 

ac555 23 May 2018

Have you tried Googling

"electric ships"?

xxxx 23 May 2018

Maybe one day but not today

ac555 wrote:

"electric ships"?

Yep, I've also googled UFO's and JFK getting shot by Elvis

typos1 23 May 2018

xxxx wrote:

xxxx wrote:

But there's no real alternative with ships at the moment, there is with cars especially with diesel supermini's etc 

 

Retro fitting emissions equipment to older diesels is the way to go, banning them and/or encouraging their early replacement with electric vehicles will mean their values will drop and theyll be scrapped way too early. This will actually DOUBLE pollution due to the extra pollution caused by the manufacturing of new cars to replace the older cars that were scrapped way before they needed to be. This is whats known as the "throw away" society and its not good for the environment, the irony is that its being marketed as such, the real reason its being done is actually to boost countrie's economies. The German governemt has muttered something about retro fitting emissions equipment to older vehicles, unlike the UK government, sadly.

xxxx 23 May 2018

Owners spending thousands on their cars for iffy fixes

typos1 wrote:

xxxx wrote:

But there's no real alternative with ships at the moment, there is with cars especially with diesel supermini's etc 

Retro fitting emissions equipment to older diesels is the way to go, banning them and/or encouraging their early replacement with electric vehicles will mean their values will drop and theyll be scrapped way too early. This will actually DOUBLE pollution due to the extra pollution caused by the manufacturing of new cars to replace the older cars that were scrapped way before they needed to be. This is whats known as the "throw away" society and its not good for the environment, the irony is that its being marketed as such, the real reason its being done is actually to boost countrie's economies. The German governemt has muttered something about retro fitting emissions equipment to older vehicles, unlike the UK government, sadly.

Never work, people don't like buying new tyres let alone spending thousands on their Euro 5 Diesel Focus.  Never gonna happen.

And no-ones throwing away diesel cars they're just being being replaced with asensible option when their time is up

voyager12 18 May 2018

Hamburg is Germany's largest port...

I have no doubt that all those sea ships which run on the lowest grade diesel are responsible for more air pollution than diesel cars are.

Find an Autocar car review