Blue Environmental Zone in Aachen – Planning

The city of Aachen – 10 km from the Dutch border – is located in a valley basin, where pollutants concentrate quickly and remain in the air longer. Traffic-related pollutants such as nitrogen oxides and particulate matter are particularly prevalent in Aachen city centre.
For this reason, a green environmental zone was introduced as early as 01.02.2016 to reduce the occurrence of particulate matter. The city has also set up several park-and-ride parking spaces where cars can be parked and it is possible to reach the city by public transport. A day ticket for families and small groups has also been introduced.
However, because nitrogen oxide levels have remained high since the introduction of the green environmental zone, Aachen has been sued by the German Association for the Environment (DUH - Deutsche Umwelthilfe) for compliance with the NOx limits. On 08.06.2018, the Administrative Court of Aachen therefore decided that diesel driving bans must now be introduced in the city if the air quality values do not improve significantly by 01.01.2019. An early planning of blue environmental zones or road sections that are closed to diesel vehicles is therefore expected.

Nitrogen Oxides in Aachen – Available information until June 2018

In Aachen, the State Agency for Nature, Environment and Consumer Protection of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia measures air quality at 4 measuring points. Limit values are regularly exceeded at several of these measuring points. Since Aachen city centre is located in a valley basin, there is sometimes very little air flow. Pollutants are therefore not transported away and there is a lack of fresh air. The city is aware of this problem. Nevertheless, the local administrative court is of the opinion that many of the measures taken to improve the air quality are only aimed at delaying the problem and that diesel driving bans must now be introduced.