• Germany's news in English
 
Greater green zones ban more gas guzzlers
Photo: DPA

Greater green zones ban more gas guzzlers

Published: 04 Jan 2013 06:08 GMT+01:00

Mönchengladbach in North Rhine-Westphalia, Mainz in Rhineland-Palatinate and Wiesbaden in Hesse are just three of the cities to draw up an environment area, or Umweltzone, a scheme begun in 2008 with the aim of slashing pollution in densely populated areas.

The system requires vehicles to display special red, yellow or green "emissions badges" depending on their environmental performance.

Each of the brand new zones will ban all vehicles without a green badge which signifies the lowest emissions category.

Until now, vehicles with yellow badges had been given a grace period allowing them into green zones in many places, but rules will be tightened this month in a number of communities such as Freiberg, Mannheim and Augsburg - only green classified vehicles will be allowed in.

In Germany's biggest Umweltzone covering the Ruhr valley, only those vehicles without an emissions sticker of any kind were banned - this will be tightened somewhat to include those with red badges. It is one of the few areas where yellow badge holders are still allowed, another being Cologne city centre.

Local authorities all over the country, such as those in Essen, Heidelberg and Munich, have promised stricter oversight of the scheme this year, once road signs have been fully updated to signify the new rules.

Drivers found without the right emissions badge on their vehicles in green zones are subject to a €40 fine and driver's license point penalties.

Despite initial worries that the scheme was not improving urban air quality, experts believe the restrictions have encouraged drivers to switch their cars over to more environmentally friendly models.

"The fleet of vehicles has changed significantly and this process is continuing," Heiko Balsmeyer, an air quality expert from the German Traffic Association told the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper on Thursday.

The Local/jlb

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

08:51 January 4, 2013 by baifeilong
It's got nothing to do with 'gas guzzlers'; it is the particulate emissions. Such a stupid scheme because we all know how the particulate emissions from diese trucks, power stations, domestic coal fires etc. all see the signs and stop entering the restricted zones. Probably backd by the motor industry to force citizens to buy new cars... The ADAC has criticised the scheme repeatedly.
14:41 January 4, 2013 by Eric1
When government says its about the environment, they really mean its about the money.
14:45 January 4, 2013 by Wise Up!
And this truly hurts those of lower incomes. Who can afford to modify their vehicles, much less afford a new one?

Banning all cars is coming next.
20:30 January 4, 2013 by ivan rehn
I have a forklift , its a Diesel that runs on propane . Is that a good idea for cars?
02:16 January 6, 2013 by Uncle Sam101
After reading news about Germany and the EU, I come to the conclusion that both are as messed up as the USA. Unfortunate since I am looking for someplace without all the usual nonsense.
04:29 January 7, 2013 by RainerL
Ha! Impracticable! besides" Who is going to enforce and penalize People who won't pull the line?
Today's headlines
'Breakthrough' in train strike: union
Stranded passengers during the train strike Photo: DPA

'Breakthrough' in train strike: union

The head of the train drivers union GDL claimed a "breakthrough" late Wednesday in talks with Deutsche Bahn, which may herald the end of a spate of train strikes which have caused travelling misery and cost the rail operator around 100 million euros. READ  

Opinion
What does Dresden have against Muslims?
The baroque skyline of Dresden Photo: DPA

What does Dresden have against Muslims?

The Pegida movement (Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West) was unknown three months ago. Now it's making Dresden famous - for all the wrong reasons. READ  

Amazon strike extended to Saturday
Workers at the Amazon distribution centre in Leipzig. Photo: DPA

Amazon strike extended to Saturday

Union Verdi announced on Wednesday that its members at two Amazon distribution centres would extend a planned three-day strike through the rest of the week, while four more sites saw new walkouts. READ  

Russia in clear over death of German MP
The late German parliamentarian Andreas Schockenhoff Photo: DPA

Russia in clear over death of German MP

A post-mortem on a prominent German MP and critic of Vladimir Putin showed no signs of foul play, prosecutors said Wednesday. READ  

'Tear Down This Plaque' row over GDR sign
Former East German leader and "comrade" Erich Honecker Photo: DPA

'Tear Down This Plaque' row over GDR sign

A historic Berlin museum is facing calls to pull down a plaque commemorating the former East German communist leader Erich Honecker. READ  

'Reform business inheritance tax' court tells MPs
Presiding judge Ferdinand Kirchhof announcing the decision on Wednesday. Photo: DPA

'Reform business inheritance tax' court tells MPs

Judges at the Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe said on Wednesday that the government must change rules reducing tax on inherited family-owned businesses within 18 months. READ  

Cabinet agrees to send 100 army trainers to Iraq
A German soldier training a Kurdish fighter with the German-made G3 rifle. Photo: DPA

Cabinet agrees to send 100 army trainers to Iraq

MPs in the Bundestag will vote in January on a controversial plan to send 100 soldiers to Iraq to train Kurdish fighters battling terrorist group Isis. READ  

Germany's Homer Simpson is actually 85
Image: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment

Germany's Homer Simpson is actually 85

He might be bald, and fat, but onscreen Homer Simpson doesn't look a day over... let's say 45. Unlike the actor who voices Homer for German audiences who is, in fact, 85 and still going strong. READ  

Greens and Left demand follow-up on US torture
Amnesty International demonstrators during a visit by President Obama to Brussels in March 2014. Photo: DPA

Greens and Left demand follow-up on US torture

Opposition parties are calling for the government to adopt a harsher stance towards the USA after the US Senate published a report into CIA torture last week. READ  

'The Hoff' to star in NYE at Brandenburg Gate
A wax figure of Hasselhoff in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. Photo: DPA

'The Hoff' to star in NYE at Brandenburg Gate

David Hasselhoff will sing to a crowd of hundreds of thousands to see in the New Year at Berlin's Brandenburg Gate - the same spot where he famously sang "Looking for Freedom" after the fall of the Berlin Wall 25 years ago. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Germany's national football team lifts the World Cup trophy
Gallery
Germany's most-Googled words of 2014
National
Why has The Local got a new logo?
Photo: DPA
National
This German was abducted and tortured by the CIA
Culture
10 top tips for partying in Germany
Sponsored Article
Top ten gifts for an expat Christmas
Photo: DPA
Technology
What does the Chancellor see as the future of the internet?
Photo: DPA
Culture
Stuff your face with these festive German cookies
Photo: DPA
Culture
What do beer, breakfast cereal and dildos have in common?
Culture
The Local's guide to German Christmas markets
Sponsored Article
Top five quirky Christmas jumpers
Photo: DPA
Culture
Get ready for Christmas like a German. We tell you how.
Photo: DPA
Munich
She did what with her dead mother?
Photo: DPA
National
Germany still paying for crisis fall out
Photo: DPA
Culture
Saxon wurst is the worst, Christmas market declares.
Photo: DPA
Politics
Can 'sorry' ever be enough for the Linke?
Sponsored Article
Shop Christmas gifts at Debenhams international store
Sponsored Article
Ever wanted to try out home exchange?
Photo: DPA
Berlin
The Local's series on 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall
Shutterstock
Sponsored Article
Offer: Unlimited airmiles through December 19th
Photo: DPA
Gallery
See how Berlin has changed in 22 photos
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,167
jobs available
The Local Spain is hiring!
The Local is seeking a new editor for our site in Spain to join our growing team of internationally-minded, driven, ambitious and clued-up journalists.
Details and how to apply
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd