• Germany's news in English
 

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
Ex-minister: Merkel's Greece policy is 'fatal'
Former German vice-chancellor and foreign minister Joschka Fischer. Photo: DPA.

Ex-minister: Merkel's Greece policy is 'fatal'

Joschka Fischer, former German vice-chancellor and foreign minister between 1998 and 2005, unleashed an uncompromising attack on Chancellor Angela Merkel over her Greek policy in an article published by newpspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung on Monday. READ  

Two court cases to test criminal links to Isis
Photo: DPA

Two court cases to test criminal links to Isis

Islamic State members in Germany have turned to petty crime and selling stolen artifacts to fund the extremist group's war efforts, reports Der Westen. READ  

Study: 1 in 5 big firms attacked by hackers
Photo illustration: DPA.

Study: 1 in 5 big firms attacked by hackers

One-fifth of Germany’s major companies has been attacked by hackers within the past three years, but companies are also not taking cyber security as seriously as they should, according to a study released on Monday. READ  

Chinese artist Ai Weiwei gets visa to Germany
Chinese artist and dissident Ai Weiwei shows off his passport, which was recently returned to him after four years. Photo: DPA.

Chinese artist Ai Weiwei gets visa to Germany

Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei has been given a visa to travel to Germany, he told AFP on Monday, just days after police handed him back his passport following a four year confiscation. READ  

Politician's car blown up in far-right heartland
Right-wing protests in Freital on the outskirts of Dresden in June. Photo: DPA.

Politician's car blown up in far-right heartland

The car of a left-wing politician was blown up early on Monday morning in an east German town that has been the scene of fierce anti-refugee protests, with the politician claiming he is "top of the hit list" for the far-right. READ  

Greece crisis
Berlin restaurant serves up Greek Crisis Menu
Chrissidi came up with the idea two weeks ago. Photo: DPA

Berlin restaurant serves up Greek Crisis Menu

A Greek restaurant-owner in Berlin is bringing his homeland's current political crisis to life for customers – by creating a menu based on Greece's financial struggles. READ  

Fire on Munich train leads to cancellations
The fire was on an inter city train. Photo: DPA.

Fire on Munich train leads to cancellations

All trains from Munich's central station were cancelled on Monday morning after fire services had to put out a fire on a locomotive. READ  

Merkel urges Turkey to stick with Kurdish talks
Turkish anti-terror police have been targeting alleged members of the Islamic State and the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). Photo: DPA

Merkel urges Turkey to stick with Kurdish talks

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday urged Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu to stick with the Kurdish peace process despite escalating violence, her office said. READ  

Jewish Games to be held at site of 'Nazi Olympics'
Berlin's Olympiastadion. Photo: Marcel Schoenhardt, via Wikimedia Commons

Jewish Games to be held at site of 'Nazi Olympics'

Seventy years after the end of World War II, Berlin from Monday hosts the European Maccabi Games, dubbed the Jewish Olympics, at the site of the 1936 "Nazi Games". READ  

Merkel tops guest list at Wagner Festival
Preparing for the festival. Tobias Hase / DPA

Merkel tops guest list at Wagner Festival

German Chancellor Angela Merkel topped the guest list Saturday of the gala opening of the Bayreuth Festival, one of the highlights in Germany's cultural calendar. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Society
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Sponsored Article
Outsourcing drives Apreel's Europe growth
Society
Police bust kinky Bavarian couple over painful love-making
Politics
Merkel brings Palestinian girl to tears
National
Could Merkel learn a lesson in love from this doppelganger?
Hamburg
Amateur archaeologist finds Nazi gold hoard
Travel
Why you should stay in Germany for the summer holidays
Sport
German press tell Schweinsteiger 'good riddance'
National
Hamburg gets a bouncing 100kg baby girl
Society
In North Germany, money sometimes DOES grow on trees
National
Hero mechanics stop Bavaria shooting spree
International
Denmark says that border controls are coming
National
Did hackers take control of German missile battery?
Politics
Munich gives gay pride green light
Business & Money
Berlin rent controls hit prices hard
National
Fighting to breastfeed in public without shame
Society
Ice cream for dogs 'gobbled up in one gulp'
Education
Are hotpants a feminist issue?
Rhineland
Lion cub reunited with mother
National
How the heatwave is cracking Germany's Autobahns
International
Why the French are more sympathetic to Greece than the Germans
Sponsored Article
Crans-Montana: International expat hub
Gallery
Police seize pensioner's WW2 heavy weapons haul
National
How to survive the Europe-wide heatwave
Sport
Is Schweini already out of the door at Bayern?
Politics
How German media shaped the Greece crisis
National
Car assembly robot crushes worker at Volkswagen
Rhineland
Weathermen red-faced over heatwave snow warning
Society
An eye for an eye? Mum protects child in playground with pepperspray
National
As it happened: Queen Elizabeth's final day in Germany
National
As it happened: Queen Elizabeth's second day in Germany
National
Queen Elizabeth II's first day in Germany - as it happened
National
Bus passengers tell fake racists where to get off
Politics
What's really in the Queen's handbag?
National
Germans say USA doesn't respect freedom
National
Yes, you CAN buy adult e-books before 10pm in Germany
VIDEO: Watch a 93-metre turbine crash to earth in slow motion
Gallery
Who's got a shot at the German Film Awards
Rhineland
Anger over 'child-free' beer garden
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

7,083
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd