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Driving bans: Has the pulmonary surgeon offset itself for exhaust emissions?

The EU Commission waives a veto against the planned easing of nitrogen oxide regulations. German cities could benefit.

Diesel bans – For these reasons, action is needed

Diesel bans – For these reasons, action is needed

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Brussels.
The plan of the Federal Government, diesel bans But in many cities to prevent by law, has taken an important hurdle: The EU Commission waived according to information from our editors a
a veto against a corresponding law plan.

In the case of minor exceedances of the Europe-wide nitrogen oxide limit values, diesel driving bans would therefore generally be disproportionate and therefore not permissible. The Bundestag can now decide the bill quickly.

Diesel bans: Wrong calculation? The essentials in brief:

  • According to the European Commission, small exceedances of the limit value of nitrogen oxides are not justified
  • There is criticism of the calculation of pulmonologist Dr. med. Köhler, who had attracted attention
  • The problem: Transport Minister Scheuer supported his proposal

Corresponding information from the Commission was also available to the EPP Group environmental spokesman in the European Parliament, Peter Liese (CDU), in front. He said he was very pleased with the agreement and confident that the Bundestag and the Federal Government would now conclude the matter quickly. "There are many impending driving bans off the table," said Liese.

EU Commission: "The decision has been made"

In mid-November, the German government informed the EU Commission of the legal plan, as required by EU rules.
 The three-month deadline for review by the Commission will end this Wednesday at midnight. With reference to this date, the Commission rejected an official statement on Wednesday.

But the Brussels authorities say: "The decision has been made. The legislative procedure in Germany is not stopped ". Although the Commission has sent – legally non-binding – comments on the plans to Berlin, but she has no serious doubts – although environmental organizations and the opposition of the federal government had accused a violation of European law.

Threshold could be raised to 50 micrograms per cubic meter

By law, the coalition wants to allow that Cities can refrain from driving bansif nitrogen oxide pollution is only marginally higher than the regulations: the EU has a limit of 40 micrograms per cubic meter of annual mean air, and the loosening clause should be 50 micrograms.

Cities with a maximum of 50 micrograms can then take other measures to improve air quality, such as the conversion of municipal buses or software updates and retrofits for passenger cars, instead of a diesel driving ban in city centers. Recently, there was a lot of discussion about which limit values ​​should be considered as harmful ,

Federal Environment Minister Andreas Scheuer (CSU) had supported the advance.

Pulmonologist Dieter Köhler is in the criticism

However, there is considerable doubt about the paper that Dieter Köhler initiated. As reported by the daily newspaper, Köhler had made serious mistakes in his analysis. Köhler always had a comparison between road traffic emissions and cigarette consumption, including in talk shows
 daring.

As the "taz" calculates, however, Köhler has sometimes calculated by example a factor of 1000 in sample calculations. Among other things, the newspaper cites statements by Köhler against the "Deutsches Ärzteblatt". From expert circles, Köhler is also confronted with massive criticism of the admissibility of his comparisons.

Other doctors had criticized that Comparison between cigarettes and car exhaust Hinke, because cigarettes are usually consumed only over a period of a few minutes, but pedestrians are sometimes exposed to several hours of car exhaust.

Cities like Berlin, Essen and Hanover could benefit

In Germany, most municipalities in which the limit values ​​are exceeded, below the mark of 50 micrograms: In addition to Berlin include in North Rhine-Westphalia:

  • Eat,
  • Hagen,
  • Oberhausen,
  • Gelsenkirchen,
  • Wuppertal,
  • Aachen,
  • Bielefeld and
  • Leverkusen.

So you could still avoid impending or possible driving bans.

In Lower Saxony

  • Hannover,
  • Oldenburg and
  • Osnabrück

according to the latest data of the Federal Environment Agency in the tolerance range between 40 and 50 micrograms, with which driving bans could still be avoided. Hamburg was in 2018 at a measuring station with 55 micrograms but still above the tolerance threshold.

Exceptions should also apply to newer diesel cars

The Federal Government considers driving bans to be disproportionate if the limit values ​​are only slightly exceeded. The CDU European politician Liese said that the improvement of urban air quality could be achieved by many useful measures such as the retrofitting of vehicles – driving bans for marginal exceedances of the limit are "completely disproportionate".

The bill also provides for general exemptions for newer diesel cars: driving bans should not apply to Euro 6 diesel and Euro 4 and 5 diesel vehicles when emitting less than 270 milligrams of nitric oxide per kilometer. Cars retrofitted with hardware can therefore also drive where driving restrictions exist.


EU: No veto does not mean easing the limits

The EU Commission had long been critical of the ban on driving in Germany.
 EU Industry Commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska warned recently at a meeting of experts in Brussels: "We ban consumers with driving bans as the last part of the chain, but not the manufacturers."

In addition, the driving bans raised the problem that older diesel vehicles would be withdrawn from service in some Western European countries with the encouragement of manufacturers and then sold to Eastern Europe without retrofitting,
 so Bienkowska.

However, the Commission states that giving up a veto on the legislative plans does not mean easing the limits. Instead, Brussels urges the Federal Government to take timely measures to ensure compliance with EU emission limits.

Liese said that German environmental aid have invoked this Directive in their claims for diesel bans. However, the EU Commission itself has always made it clear that it does not prescribe any driving bans.

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