Thursday was a day of change, when Hamburg became Germany’s first city to put a ban of diesel vehicles. This has come, after a federal court’s judgement in February, where the court had allowed local authorities to prohibit diesel engines, which have been running for a number of years.
There is one limitation to the restriction, which has been put in place. It is only applicable for Hamburg’s two main thoroughfares, which has drawn criticism not only from locals but also from those, who carry out campaigns for keeping the environment clean.
City of Hamburg was even forced to give a framework of how it would ensure that air quality gets improved, after a resident and an environmental group had filed a case.
So, from Thursday, diesel vehicles, which are without the latest Euro 6 technology, will not be seen around Max-Brauer-Allee in the Altona area and trucks, which are without the latest technology, would not be allowed to ply along the Stresemannstrasse highway.
During the initial weeks of the ban, police will be handing out warnings to motorists who do not abide by the rule. Henceforth, they would check registration papers and fines of 20 Euros would be charged from the car drivers and 75 Euros would be charged from the truck drivers.
This ban is being seen as a very important first step, towards putting similar restrictions all across Germany. If the ban does work towards improving the air quality, other cities can go ahead with a similar kind of ban, taking the Hamburg’s case as evidence to support their decisions.
Hamburg is also on its way to expand the lanes for buses and bicycles to move around, thereby put in broader efforts to improve air quality.
The VDA, representing the auto industry in Germany has been looking to push for alternative remedial measures like park-and-ride services. They felt that putting a ban on driving vehicles, could not be regarded as the most effective way to improve air quality.