S tuttgarts Air values are bad. In 2018, an average nitrogen dioxide concentration of 71 µg /m³ was measured at the Neckartor - a national record. The EU limit value of 40 µg /m³ was thus still far exceeded, although the exposure to the harmful substance has been falling for years. The consequence: At the beginning of the year, a specific driving ban for diesel cars was implemented for the first time. The ban has been in effect since January 1st, 2019 (for residents since April 1st, 2019). While Baden-Württemberg's State Transport Minister Winfried Herrmann (Greens) is fully convinced of the effectiveness of the measure, Thomas Dörflinger, chairman of the “Transport” working group of the CDU parliamentary group, sees it critically. This is what the two of them say to auto, motor und sport:How do you assess the effect of the diesel driving bans so far?
Herrmann: “Very effective - that is what the effectiveness reports promised, and this is confirmed by the current measurements. In the first nine months of this year, the nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution at the Neckartor was on average 15 µg /m³ lower than in the previous year. This is the biggest improvement within a year since measurements began. Unfortunately, the annual mean NO2 limit of 40 µg /m³ with a pollution of 54 µg /m³ at the Neckartor is still clearly exceeded in the first ten months of 2019. '
Dörflinger: ' The readings fell very quickly over the course of 2019. At the Neckartor, for example, the annual mean value at the end of October was 54 µg /m³. The annual mean value in 2018 was 71 µg /m³. This shows that the state government's extensive package of measures is working. The effect of the zonal driving ban for Euro 4 diesel, which has been in force since the beginning of the year, can hardly be answered seriously, as many measures are being implemented in parallel, e.g. also the extraction of nitrogen oxides from the air. “How do you rate the effectiveness of the driving bans in comparison to other measures, specifically the promotion of public transport and cycling?
Herrmann: “Greater use of local public transport and more bicycle and foot traffic are urgently required, not only for air pollution control, but also for climate protection and the relief of the road network. That is why the country is promoting climate-friendly means of transport in a special way. The state of Baden-Württemberg is strongly committed to this, but it takes time. We don't have that in air pollution control. Traffic restrictions work quickly. So: noteither or, but both - mutually complementary. '
Dörflinger: ' As I said, it is hardly possible to differentiate which measure has brought how much. What is clear, however, is that the major tariff reform in the VVS transport association of April 2019, with which tickets have become significantly cheaper for almost everyone, has significantly increased the number of passengers. At the same time, the proportion of cycling in Stuttgart has been increasing for years. From my point of view, the most important benefit is the changing composition of the vehicle fleet: Older vehicles are gradually being replaced by newer, cleaner ones. The nitrogen oxide problem has long been technically solved, that's just a question of time. ”Will you advocate further bans (Euro 5)? What other bans are to be expected in the future?
Herrmann: “In most cities in Baden-Württemberg, the limit values can be complied with with milder means. There we will be able to dispense with traffic bans for Euro 5 diesel. The measured values in the first months of 2020 and the short-term forecasts will show whether we can at least avoid a zonal traffic ban in Stuttgart. The top priority is health protection through compliance with the limit values, which is why single-distance traffic bans for Euro 5 diesel will apply on some routes in Stuttgart from January 1, 2020. '
Dörflinger: ' We have always said that driving bans are the last resort for us and that all innovative and technical possibilities must be exhausted before bans. Unfortunately, the courts have forced us to introduce driving bans for Euro 5 diesel on a few routes in Stuttgart from January 2020. It is also important that all vehicles with a software update are exempted for two years. Those who retrofit their Euro 5 diesel with hardware can drive it permanently in environmental zones.
Unfortunately, Deutsche Umwelthilfe is requesting this as before a zonal driving ban for Euro 5 diesel. We expect the responsible transport minister to do everything possible to comply with the limit values in good time. ”