Hamburg drivers caught breaching diesel ban | News | DW | 13.07.2018
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Hamburg drivers caught breaching diesel ban

More than 170 drivers have been caught violating a partial ban on diesel cars in Hamburg. The city was the first in Germany to impose such a measure in a bid to curb air pollution. Now Stuttgart wants to follow suit.

Authorities have so far nabbed 173 people flouting a 6-week-old partial diesel ban in the northern port of Hamburg, police said Friday.

The city imposed the restrictions in May as part of an effort to improve air quality. Under the new rules, vehicles that do not meet the latest Euro-6 emissions standards are prohibited from two busy stretches of road in the central district of Altona-Nord.

Offending car drivers face a €20 ($27) fine, while lorries must cough up €75.

Police say they checked more than 600 cars and trucks in the designated areas during four operations between June 21 and 26. A spokesman added that further operations were planned.

Read moreWhen driving isn't fun anymore

Dirty air

Dozens of German cities, including Hamburg, Stuttgart and Munich, have long struggled with air pollution problems. In 2016, 90 German cities breached the European Union's limits on nitrogen oxide. Last year, 66 failed to meet the standards.

A major court decision in February cleared the way for German cities to ban heavily polluting diesel cars.

Hamburg was the first to act, but some critics have dismissed the new measures there as ineffective because they only apply to two streets.

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Stuttgart to enact ban

On Wednesday, the southwestern city of Stuttgart — home to car makers Audi, Porsche and Mercedes-Benz — announced plans to impose its own ban on diesel cars from January next year. Authorities say they want to keep parts of the city's downtown free of diesel vehicles that fall under the Euro-4 or older emissions standards.

Diesel-engine cars, once considered a more environmentally friendly option, have largely fallen from favor following revelations that the German car industry cheated on diesel emissions tests.

A number of major capitals around the world, including Paris, Madrid, Mexico City and Athens, plan to ban diesel cars from their city centers by 2025.

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nm/rc (dpa Reuters)

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