• Germany's news in English
 

EU tells Germany: clean up filthy city air

The Local · 28 Feb 2013, 10:20

Published: 28 Feb 2013 10:20 GMT+01:00

“German authorities have identified traffic as the main source of the pollution,” wrote the European Commission in a decision paper on February 20th.

Of particular concern are levels of nitrogen oxide from diesel exhaust, which have not fallen as expected after environmental green zones were imposed in many cities - in fact, levels of the gas have risen in many areas, the paper said.

Nitrogen oxide levels were found to exceed legal limits in 33 of 57 German regions tested, including Berlin, Berlin, Stuttgart, Munich, Cologne, Dortmund, Düsseldorf and Hamburg.

The German government had asked Brussels to give it until 2015 to reduce the pollution in these areas, but the Commission said action had to be quicker than that.

“The affected regions must act as fast as possible,” said a spokesman from the office of EU Environment Commissioner's Janez Potocnik.

“We ask the regions to act immediately to reduce traffic from private individuals,” Jens Hilgenberg of Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND) told the paper, and said this was the only way to reduce pollution.

In a bid to drastically cut emissions, some regions may consider banning cars altogether, wrote the Bild newspaper on Thursday.

The warnings, which were also issued for other European Union countries including Austria, the UK, France and Italy, must now be met with concrete plans to improve air quality and reduce pollution.

If levels do not drop below acceptable limits, offenders could face legal action and possible fines from the European Court.

The Local/jlb

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

21:15 February 28, 2013 by US-TommyBoy
Well, well, Germany. It is not enough that you shoulder the entire EU economy on your back, especially the PIIGS, and throw in Great Britain. Now they are going to fine you for dirty diesels?

You all better get fracking (serching for oil and natural gas), because if the EU is going after diesels, it is only a matter of days before they come back for your dirty coal fired power plants that feeds the industries that keep the EU barely above bankruptcy.
05:52 March 1, 2013 by anaverageguy
Not to worry. The wind and solar will be on line soon to take up the slack when all the coal plants are shut down, and all of the vehicles are electric. Russians ALWAYS willing to sell natural gas and the the French will always want to sell the produce of the only thing they have that works ALL the time.
11:08 March 2, 2013 by Roberto Gold
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
Today's headlines
Palestinian TV teen given German residency
Photo: Norddeutsche Rundfunk/Screenshot

Palestinian TV teen given German residency

2 hours ago

A Palestinian teen threatened with deportation who burst into tears during a televised debate with German Chancellor Angela Merkel has got a residency permit for "humanitarian reasons," a statement said Friday.

The photojournalist making news intimate
World Press Photo winner Mads Nissen. Photo: DPA

The photojournalist making news intimate

21 hours ago

Photographer Mads Nissen’s World Press Photo of the Year is currently touring Germany and the world. It’s a provocative image of two Russian gay men and one that some say is changing the definition of photojournalism.

Six athletics world champs head to Berlin
ISTAF is held annually in Berlin. File Photo: DPA

Six athletics world champs head to Berlin

21 hours ago

six world champions, freshly crowned from Beijing, will be gracing Berlin's Olympic Stadium on Sunday in the annual ISTAF track-and-field meet.

A week after heatwave, snow falls in Bavaria
Zugspitze, Germany's highest mountain. File Photo: DPA

A week after heatwave, snow falls in Bavaria

22 hours ago

From 30C to snow in under a week? It's possible in Germany where seven centimetres of the white stuff fell at the top of the Bavarian Alps on Friday.

Oktoberfest and the Refugee Crisis
Munich plans to keep revellers, refugees apart
Police and refugees at Munich Central Station. Photo: DPA

Munich plans to keep revellers, refugees apart

22 hours ago

Police in Munich are preparing a significant operation to ensure that drunken revelers at Oktoberfest are kept away from refugees arriving at the city's central station from Budapest.

Criminal had time for pit stop in 20-cop-car chase
Photo: DPA

Criminal had time for pit stop in 20-cop-car chase

1 day ago

With 21 police cars and a helicopter hot on his heels, it seemed unlikely that police in Düsseldorf would fail to catch one rogue motorist. But after a two-hour pursuit, that's exactly what happened in the early hours of Friday.

What's keeping Germans awake at night in 2015?
The Greek debt crisis has been haunting German dreams. Source: Wikipedia

What's keeping Germans awake at night in 2015?

1 day ago

Having to cough up for the excesses of spendthrift southern Europeans is the fear most likely to haunt German nightmares in 2015. But getting caught up in a natural disaster isn't far behind, an annual survey shows.

This Week in History
The death of a great humanitarian
Schweitzer spent most of his later years at Lambaréné. Photo: DPA

The death of a great humanitarian

2 days ago

On September 4th 1965, the world lost one of its most dedicated and tireless humanitarians, as Albert Schweitzer died in the African hospital he had created and cherished for over 50 years. A hospital that continues to save lives today.

Refugee crisis
Pro-refugee group push punk classic to no. 1
Die Ärzte singer and drummer Bela B. with a DVD titled "not interested in Nazis" in 2009. Photo: DPA

Pro-refugee group push punk classic to no. 1

1 day ago

Under the banner of "Arsehole Action", activists campaigning against xenophobia and hatred of refugees have pushed a 1993 hit by punk band Die Ärzte mocking the far right to the top of Germany's charts.

Refugee Crisis
Orban: Muslims threaten European identity
Viktor Orban, guardian of Europe? Photo: DPA

Orban: Muslims threaten European identity

1 day ago

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban warned Thursday that the wave of mostly Muslim refugees coming to Europe threatens to undermine the continent's Christian roots - an idea rejected by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS

Features
'Berlin is kind of like the best American city'
Features
How Brits in Germany are facing Brexit fears
Sport
German named 'arse bombing' world champ
Travel
Retiree finds parked car after three-week search
National
Ten ways Germany puts Britain to shame
Business & Money
German gadget clamps down on Nutella thieves
Society
Is Germany now a nation of couch potatoes?
National
Half of Germans 'have had sex in their car'
Society
Deadly stew spooks home vegetable gardeners
Politics
The man who brought two Germanies together
Features
Where to get your culture fix in Cologne
Education
Fairytale world of Brothers Grimm brought to life
Rhineland
Thieves leave 1,000 open beers untasted
National
Way to some Germans' hearts is through their wallets
National
Germany's biggest challenge: European refugee crisis
Travel
Where to get your adrenaline pumping in Germany
Technology
Could thieves hack into luxury cars?
What to watch out for when snapping your lunch
National
German lefties through history
National
The fight over prostitution heats up
National
Merkel: migrants, not Greece, are the real challenge
Features
How I explained the Queen to the Germans
Education
Why Germany does 'back-to-school' traditions better
National
Germans are ‘not how foreigners think’
National
A mum and daughter reunite 70 years after WWII
Sport
Bra stops bullet in hunting mishap miracle
National
Cows trample German woman to death in Graubünden Alps
Business & Money
Start-up helps new Berliners short cut bureaucracy
National
The 1,000s of Germans massacred after the Second World War
Sport
Germany star scores own goal with PR gaffe
Features
'Women-only' parking: sensible or sexist?
Politics
Satire and reality blur in parody party's strife
National
13-year-old boy detained for trying to join Isis
Culture
Berlin restaurant serves up Greek Crisis Menu
Rhineland
Doctor on trial after woman wakes in morgue
Society
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Society
Police bust kinky Bavarian couple over painful love-making
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

6,913
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd