Bonn, 15 June 2021. The Land of North Rhine‑Westphalia (NRW) and Deutsche Umwelthilfe (German Environmental Aid) reached a settlement on 14 June 2021 in a dispute over diesel driving bans within the city limits of the Land capital Düsseldorf. This finally puts an end to the legal proceedings surrounding the introduction of driving bans for diesel‑powered vehicles.
Deutsche Umwelthilfe had taken action against the Land in a total of 14 cases in order to have diesel driving bans included in the respective clean air plans because limits for nitrogen dioxide were being exceeded. This applied to a number of large cities in NRW: Cologne, Aachen, Dortmund, Essen, Bielefeld, Wuppertal, Bonn, Hagen, Paderborn, Gelsenkirchen, Bochum, Oberhausen, Düren and Düsseldorf. In all cases, it was possible to agree on measures to ensure that the limit of 40 µg/m² air is complied with across the board at all pollution hotspots. The agreed measures consist primarily of a reduction in traffic flow through intelligent, environmentally sensitive traffic light control, making traffic flow more smoothly by means of 30 km/h speed zones, and the use of low‑emission vehicles in public transport and public vehicle fleets. Numerous other measures have furthermore been agreed upon in the settlements that are intended to contribute to a reduction in individual transport. These include, in particular, encouraging cycling and improving public transport services. All legal proceedings pending for NRW in which the introduction of diesel driving bans had been called for have thus been brought to an end. The objective of NRW. State Premier Armin Laschet to avoid diesel driving bans across the board through intelligent solutions has thus been achieved.
The Land of North Rhine‑Westphalia was represented in the 14 proceedings by the lawyers Prof. Dr. Alexander Schink and Julian Ley of the Redeker Sellner Dahs law firm. The settlement talks, which were also attended by NRW Minister of the Environment Ursula Heinen‑Esser and the respective mayors and district presidents, were moderated by Prof. Dr. Max‑Jürgen Seibert, former Münster Superior Administrative Court judge.