Present Waves of Complaints Against High NO2 Levels Combined with Foreclosure
The German Environmental Aid (DHU) aims since November 2015 to force towns like Munich, Darmstadt, and Wiesbaden by means of a wave of complaints to apply stronger means for the observance of limited nitrogen oxide levels. Also the towns Cologne, Bonn, Aachen, Düsseldorf, Essen, Gelsenkirchen, Frankfort on the Main, and Stuttgart lodged complaints but still without application for foreclosure.
The German Environmental Aid DHU repeatedly obtained right from the Court and claimed for enforcement measures in the meantime. The towns are threatened by penalty payments amounting up to 10,000 Euro per day if no suitable measures for the observance of the prescribed limits will be taken.
In this very interesting in this context that the German Environmental Aid claims beside a stronger observance of the environmental areas also a central continuous development of the badge Regulation by the Federal Ministry of Transport.
After repeated proposals of the association the blue badge is considered as the solution being made for vehicles which observe the necessary low emissions also during the real operation period. This makes clear that only diesel vehicles fulfilling the latest Euro 6 standard respectively buses and commercial vehicles being equipped with a particle and NOx reduction system would be allowed to enter into environmental areas defined by the law.
Lasting Successful Legal Actions Against Nitrogen Oxide Pollution
The Courts deliver lots of judgements which cause massive pressure on towns and communities. The force to act will soon meet the whole nation. Citizens and environmental associations gain series of successes due to the high air pollution arising from traffic.
Especially the last judgement of December 2015 caused attention. After the complaint a local resident had lodged, the administrative Court of Berlin decided that the traffic has to observe a speed limit of 30 km/h on a 900 metres section of an arterial road, the federal highway 2 in Berlin-Weissensee.
If this kind of jurisdiction becomes regular, many towns may be confronted with a new traffic behaviour which would mean that drivers will have to creep on arterial roads and through streets because only on this way the limit values for nitrogen oxides – mostly caused by diesel engines – can be observed.
Almost every complaint bases on the relevant air-quality plans existing in nearly every city for a longer time already. If these plans provide a speed limit after a certain number of exceeding defined limit values, this decision will have to be expressed and realised according to the Courts' opinion.
As far as no or too lax air-quality plans are applied, the relevant cities and communities cannot remain inactive but risk to be taken to court and being judged to elaborate their plans more detailed and more strictly.
Also complaints in Darmstadt and Wiesbaden where a decision about a compulsory execution of already final judgements for a stricter observance of the plans is supposed to be made in January 2016 will have a signal character. The complaints promise to be successful. It is known that the towns have no money which will force them to accept the judgements.
Especially the results of the NOx hotspot complaints in Stuttgart will be interesting. Local residents of this notorious town beside the Neckar lodged lots of complaints for the expansion of the air-quality plan. A lawyer of complaining citizens takes another further step, he requested the appropriate authority to apply measures of traffic restrictions on heavily used roads, such as passage prohibitions, this in order to prevent health hazards.
Also the EU carries out pressure because Brussels introduced an infringement procedure, this because limit values use to be exceeded in more and more places. The procedure could among other lead to the fact that Germany would have to pay considerable penalty charges which the Federal government probably could invoice to the relevant federal states, communities, and cities.
The blue nitrogen badge
The introduction of the Blue Badge was adopted on 04.07.2016. In special environmental zones no later than 2017 vehicles with the blue nitrogen badge may only retract. More info here.