Blue Environmental Zone Osnabrück – Planning

Since 2006 already, the city of Osnabrück struggles to respect the limits for nitrogen oxides and fine particles. For this reason, an environmental zone has been decided for Osnabrück in 2010. It covers big parts of the city centre. However, the annual medium values for nitrogen oxides emissions exceeded the limits by 20% to 50%. Therefore, Osnabrück is one of the cities that has been sued by the German association for environmental protection (Deutschen Umwelthilfe – DUH) on the non-compliance of air quality standards. Now, concrete actions are required.
The update of Osnabrück’s Clean Air Plan was approved on 06.02.2018. In this latest version, there are several references to diesel vehicles and the Blue Badge. It is stated that: “Since diesel vehicles, which have increased in recent years, are the major cause for the emission of NOx in Osnabrück […], the low emission zone with a blue badge is an appropriate measure for the reduction of NO2 pollution.”  However, the planning of such a zone should not begin until the government has agreed on a uniform national diesel identification system.

Nitrogen Oxides in Osnabrück - Available information until February 2018

The limit values for nitrogen oxide have been continuously exceeded in Osnabrück. In 2016, for example, the annual mean value was 48 µg NOx/m³ and in 2017 it was 44 µg NOx/m³.

In Osnabrück, we have the interesting situation of a civil movement acting against the introduction of an environmental zone. In 2017, the Federation of citizens of Osnabrück (BOB) even pleads for the abolition of the existing green environmental zone and suggests alternative measures which would make the traffic more fluid. Also, the BOB articulates its opposition to the blue NOx badge.
On the other hand, the city recognizes that already in 2016, 17 400 citizens were affected by the exceeding of air quality limits, which cause asthma, pulmonary diseases and functional cardiovascular disorders. For this reason, the city identified a real need for action and wants to conduct measures additional to the environmental zone, such as the improvement of the cycle path network and the traffic flow. Therefore, Osnabrück organised the first panel for e-mobility in 2016 and, according to its own information, the local transports company “Stadtwerke Osnabrück” has the most important electronic fleet all over Germany. However, concrete plans for the introduction of a blue environmental zone are expected within the air-quality plan appearing in October 2017.