• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

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.

Story continues below…

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
Germany sees 'turning point' in birth rate decline
Children at a a kindergarten in Swabia. Photo: Nikolaus Lenau/Flickr

Is Germany's three-decade decline in birth rate now over?

Trump protesters rebuild and tear down 'Berlin Wall'
The 'Stop Trump' protest at the Brandenburg Gate. Photo: DPA.

US expats gathered at the Berlin's iconic Brandenburg Gate on Friday "rebuild" the Berlin Wall and protest US presidential candidate Donald Trump's own proposed wall-building.

Accusation of sexism within Merkel's party creates uproar
Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen and Chancellor Angela Merkel, two leading women in the CDU party. Photo: DPA.

A young politician from the ranks of Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) has caused a storm by suggesting that the party is institutionally sexist.

EasyJet 'in talks to buy German airline' to duck Brexit
Photo: DPA

EasyJet is in talks to acquire TUIfly, a board member of the German carrier said Friday, as the British no-frills airline looks for ways to keep flying freely within the EU after Britain quits the bloc.

Symbols of migrant plight to go on show in Bonn museum
Photo: DPA

A people smugglers' car, a dinghy and a life jacket are among items related to Europe's migration crisis due to go on display at a German museum.

Brexit
Green party demand 'quick and easy' citizenship for Brits
Photo: DPA

The Green party has called for Brits living in Germany to be offered a painless path to obtaining dual citizenship as to "reassure them over the future".

Berlin the new London? 10m2 flat to rent for €750 a month
Photo: Immonet.de.

This shoebox apartment in the gentrified Bergmann-Kiez neighbourhood may be a sign that the tides are turning for Berlin’s comparatively cheap housing market.

Far-right AfD reach record high in national poll
AfD leader Frauke Petry. Photo: DPA.

The Alternative for Germany (AfD) was backed by 16 percent of respondents in a new poll, which was a new high for the upstart populist party.

Bautzen youth beat up pensioner in racist attack
Photo: DPA

In the Saxon town of Bautzen, which has become a byword for racism and anti-migrant sentiment, two youths have attacked a 72-year-old man, shouting 'foreigners out'.

German lawmakers ratify landmark Paris climate accord
The German parliament (Bundestag). Photo: DPA.

Germany's lower of house of parliament on Thursday ratified the Paris agreement on climate change, following in the footsteps of 60 other countries that have committed to the landmark agreement designed to stem the planet's rising temperatures.

Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Lifestyle
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Lifestyle
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
National
Seven great reasons to stay in Germany this September
National
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
National
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
National
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
Culture
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Rhineland
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Culture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
Lifestyle
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Gallery
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Society
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
National
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
International
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
Technology
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
Lifestyle
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
Travel
Enter if you dare: Berlin's best abandoned haunts
Lifestyle
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
5,753
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd