Administrative court Gelsenkirchen: driving bans indispensable
For the first time, the busy A 40 in Essen has also affected a motorway from diesel driving bans up to and including the Euro 5 standard. The state of North Rhine-Westphalia has so far not carried out sufficient measures to improve air quality so that the binding limit values for nitrogen dioxide have not been observed, the administrative court Gelsenkirchen ruled on Thursday, November 15, 201 (Az .: 8 K 5068/15). In another decision, the court also ordered a driving ban on a busy street in Gelsenkirchen (ref .: 8 K 5254/15). This enabled Deutsche Umwelthilfe to achieve further legal success in complaints about clean air.
In the case of Essen, the administrative judges decided that a so-called “blue environmental zone” had to be built within the current green environmental zone, which encompasses large parts of the Essen city area, including the Autobahn 40. As of July 1, 2019, petrol engines of classes Euro 2 and older and diesel vehicles with Euro 4 engines and older may not drive in this zone. From September 1, 2019, the diesel driving ban will also apply to vehicles in the Euro 5 class.
German environmental aid had complained that the limit value for harmful nitrogen dioxide of 40 micrograms per cubic meter was exceeded. Unlike with driving bans, clean air can no longer be achieved for the residents concerned.
The administrative court also followed. In 2017, for example, the limit value was not adhered to across the board in Essen. The state of North Rhine-Westphalia is therefore obliged to update the Ruhr Region West clean air plan for the city of Essen by April 1, 2019. The district government was obliged to "in addition to the measures for air improvement planned so far" to order a zonal driving ban in the Essen city area along the federal highway 40 and parts of the B 224 including these routes ".
The driving bans are "indispensable" in the air pollution control plan to be updated, the court emphasized. This is the only way to protect the health of residents, visitors and road users. The district government was also obliged to draw up a “current debit card” for the entire Essen city area in order to be able to extend the driving bans if necessary.
For the city of Gelsenkirchen, the administrative judges ordered a route-related driving ban on Kurt-Schumacher-Strasse. In 2017, the average annual nitrogen dioxide pollution there was 46 micrograms per cubic meter. This route-related driving ban is also "indispensable" for the health protection of citizens. Above all, it was necessary "to achieve the fastest possible compliance with the limit value that has been binding for almost nine years," said the administrative court. After the judgment, a current debit card must also be drawn up for Gelsenkirchen.
Both judgments can be appealed to the Higher Administrative Court (OVG) of North Rhine-Westphalia in Münster.
German environmental aid welcomed the judgments. "When a federal highway was blocked for the first time for diesel cars, buses and trucks, a Chancellor Merkel also had to recognize that her policy against health protection and securing profits for a fraudulent industry had failed," said Federal Managing Director Jürgen Resch.
In total, environmental aid has filed complaints for "clean air" in 29 cities to date, and five more are expected to follow in November 2018.
According to calculations by the European Environment Agency, nitrogen dioxide was responsible for 13,100 premature deaths in Germany alone in 2015, emphasized environmental aid. Dirty diesel cars contribute significantly to more than 800,000 new cases of diabetes and asthma each year.
On November 8, 2018, the Cologne Administrative Court ruled that the cities of Cologne and Bonn also had to introduce driving bans for diesel cars with Euro 5 engines and older Benin bans (ref .: 13 K 6684/15 and 13 K 6682/15; JurAgency report the following day).
The Administrative Court (VGH) of Baden-Württemberg also decided on November 9, 2018 that the state of Baden-Württemberg should immediately set driving bans for the city of Stuttgart (Az .: 10 S 1808/18; 10 S 2316/18; JurAgentur notification of November 12, 2018).
Other cities such as Mainz, Berlin and Düsseldorf also have to adjust to driving bans in accordance with several judicial decisions. fle / mwo / fle