The streets of Berlin are in the process of changing its form. By the end of June 2019, there will be more diesel vehicles particularly polluting in many of the major arteries of the city centre, the speed will be limited to 30 km/h per hour in some of the streets and the network of cycle paths will be extended. The Senate, the mayor of Berlin led by a coalition of the left (SPD + Die Linke), is in the process of implementing this action plan to try to fight the air pollution in the capital.
This week, the Berlin administrative court has delivered a decision which makes sensation : the cars equipped with a diesel engine, particularly pollutant must remain at the gates of the city. They will no longer have the right to circulate on some roads of the centre, and not least. The famous Friedrichstrasse is concerned. This street lined with shops where the Galleries Lafayette home after the fall of the Wall is one of the most prestigious of the new Berlin. Several segments of the Leipzigerstrasse also, this wide busy thoroughfare that connects the east and west of the city, as well as the Rheinhardstrasse which is adjacent to the government quarter. Eleven sections of roads will be prohibited with the cars equipped with a diesel engine to the standard of exhaust Euro 1 to Euro 5. Berlin plans to add other sections for a total length of 15 kilometres.
A little early
It is estimated that some 200 000 vehicles would be affected, or a car on a six-circulating in Berlin. To this we must add the trucks and buses. Some of these vehicles have only three or four years. This measure relates to the drivers of berlin, but also the visitors and employees who live on the outskirts of the capital and commuting in every day to come to work at the centre. There is no doubt, said the judge in presenting his verdict, that this prohibition is the only effective measure to reduce the amount of dioxin nitrogen. However, this measure is only a tiny start : 15 km, this represents only 0.003 per cent of the road network of Berlin.
If this decision is spectacular, Berlin, however, is not a pioneer to improve the quality of its air. In the month of February, the federal administrative tribunal, housed in Leipzig had allowed the German cities to reduce the circulation of polluting vehicles between their walls. Hamburg was the first to implement this prohibition, Stuttgart and Frankfurt would create a similar device next year. Bonn, Darmstadt, Cologne, Essen and Dormund should follow the example in the next few months.
The ban of Diesel vehicles highly polluting in some of the streets is a victory for the association for the protection of the environment Deutsche Umwelthilfe, based in Berlin, who had appealed to the tribunal. She has referred to the decision of the Senate on the diesel ” good day for the cleanliness of the air “, but wants to go further and calls for the ban of vehicles over the whole of the urban territory within the zone delimited by the network of S-Bahn, the subway air. As for the Senate of berlin, it considers the decision of the administrative court “balanced” and believes that the project will be implemented in time.
there Remains the question of exceptions for residents who live in these neighborhoods and the people who need access to construction sites in the areas concerned. And more complicated, than the controls that will need to be regular and frequent. A nightmare for the municipalities that lack resources and personnel. In Hamburg, the police carries out systematic controls. It stops drivers and checks their papers. A fine of 20 euros is planned for the motorists, 75 euros for trucks. The Senate of berlin is considering the creation of pads blue mandatory who would know at first glance who has the right to move where, and that, on the whole of the German territory.
the concern of The manufacturers
But Berlin goes further. To try to reduce the pollution without banning diesel cars, the Senate has already limited the movement of 30 to the time in several streets. As a pilot project. In the Schöneberg district, for example, panels Tempo 30 have flourished in the beginning of the month of September in several major arteries and since the drivers are at not. Until now, the panels Tempo 30 were prepared as in front of schools, the outputs of hospitals, or in areas that are particularly sensitive. Very worried about the effects of climate change after a hot summer and a fall that looks like a summer standard, the Berliners agree rather well with these measures.
Even if the government ensures that these new initiatives drivers have nothing to do with the scandal of the rigging of the diesel engines that shook Germany as a wave of shock, the Germans are many to make the link. Almost all major German manufacturers, the giant Volkswagen in the first in 2015, have recognized a to a have rigged emissions tests of their engines. The government, however, clarified that the vehicles concerned by these new limitations have been normally recorded and are not fixing. The decision of Berlin will, however, accentuate the love of the Germans for the technology and the anger of the owners of the vehicles fixing.
For the automotive industry, the veto berlin is a blow hard. 800 000 people work in this sector. And for Angela Merkel, who would like to preserve these jobs, each finding of an administrative tribunal is a real snub. The “plan” diesel ” announced in the wake of the German government is far from convincing. It provides for purchase incentives for drivers who would exchange their vehicle and wants to encourage large automotive groups to ask of the technical devices on the vehicles concerned. But they refuse to pay out of pocket. The least we can say is that the response of the automakers lack of enthusiasm.