Following a February ruling by German courts which allowed cities to regulate use of diesel vehicles in their bounds, Hamburg as taken a notable first step in reducing the city’s harmful emissions in prohibiting the use of diesel vehicles, those of the Euro-5 Standard or older (effectively those vehicles manufactured prior to 2014), on two main roads in the city. These restrictions are expected to affect an estimated 214,000 vehicles, private vehicles of residents in the area and public transport vehicles are exempt, but the ultimate impact remains to be seen given the limited scope of these initial measures which could lead to an increase in emissions in areas outside of the affected routes.

Last week also saw Madrid announce a spate of restrictions intended to reduce transportation emissions by limiting the types of vehicles that are permitted to enter the city. The restrictions, which comes into force this November, will prohibit entry into the city’s center from those vehicles either not belonging to residents of the area or zero-emissions delivery vehicles, taxis, and used in public transit. These restrictions continue a series of regulations imposed over the last 13 years that have already restricted vehicle access into certain areas of the city.

Other cities across Europe are making similar efforts ranging from Oslo’s commitment to a car-free city in 2019, car-free zones in areas of Copenhagen, Brussels, and Munich, as well as efforts by Paris and London to increase their walkability by devoting some streets and central routes for pedestrian and cyclist use.

Hamburg to begin restricting diesel use

German court rules to allow diesel bans

Madrid sets out new plan to reduce transport emissions

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