Cologne is one of the cities that has been identified by the German environmental aid organisation DUH as exceeding pollution levels. Head of the environment and health department, Professor Doctor Harald Rau, has commented that ‘relatively few cities have seriously worked on measures to keep to the pollution limits – also Cologne has not.’
A diesel driving ban ‘will certainly be one of the first measures we can introduce with relatively little effort,’ Rau said. He added: ‘diesel engines are the main cause of nitrogen oxides and even the Euro 6 standard does not offer security that EU limits can be undercut.'
The diesel ban could soon be introduced in Cologne although it is yet to be decided whether it will apply ‘to the entire environment zone or just to particularly affected streets and whether this is only when values are exceeded'. A principle decision by the city council is expected already on 4 April, with measures to be outlined before the summer. A city toll is also possible in the long term.
Ultimately, the intent is to reduce harmful emissions by up to 30% and this could already be implemented in early 2018. Cologne follows in the footsteps of numerous cities which are rolling out diesel driving bans such as Stuttgart, Paris and Madrid.