Administrative court Cologne: Nitrogen oxide limit value otherwise not to be kept
Cologne and Bonn must also introduce driving bans. This was decided by the Administrative Court of Cologne on 8 November 2018 (Case No. Cologne: 13 K 6684/15, Case No. Bonn: 13 K 6682/15). From April 2019 they will apply to diesel passenger cars with Euro 4 standard and older and also to old petrol cars (Euro 1 to 3), from September 2019 they will also apply – in Bonn only partially – to diesel passenger cars with Euro 5 engines.
Following a complaint by Deutsche Umwelthilfe, the Administrative Court found that in 2017 both cities had not complied with the annual average limit for nitrogen oxides of 40 micrograms per cubic meter of air.
In Cologne, this applies to at least five measuring stations with a peak annual mean value of 62 micrograms per cubic meter at the Clevischer Ring. In view of the high exceedances, the city could only comply with the limit value with driving bans in the previous “Green Environment Zone”. The administrative court therefore obliged the state of North Rhine-Westphalia to update the clean air plan for the city of Cologne and to include a zone-related driving ban as a measure there.
In Bonn, an annual mean value of 47 micrograms per cubic meter was measured in Reuterstraße in 2017 and 42 micrograms per cubic meter in Belderberg in 2016. Diesel passenger cars with Euro 5 engines are not affected due to the small excess. For this, however, the municipal bus fleet had to be retrofitted with filters “promptly”. The Administrative Court also ordered the state of North Rhine-Westphalia to update its clean air plan for Bonn.
Following the ruling, the environmental aid organisation in Berlin declared: “Now that we have won ten cases in a row, nobody should think any more that driving bans are disproportionate and will not come. All the courts that have dealt with the issue so far see it differently”.
All in all, Environmental Aid has filed complaints for “Clean Air” in 29 cities to date, and five more are due to follow in November 2018.
According to calculations by the European Environment Agency, nitrogen dioxide had already been responsible for 13,100 premature deaths in Germany alone by 2015, the environmental aid agency stressed. Dirty diesel cars contribute significantly to more than 800,000 new cases of diabetes and asthma each year.