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Limit values for nitrogen dioxide : What the EU means decision-making for possible bans

The decision from Brussels to approve the plans of the German legislator to Amend the Federal Immission control act, applies to a country's emotional debate about the limits and methods of measurement.

What is decided in Brussels?

In the EU since 1999, and for all member States a binding limit value for emissions of harmful nitrogen dioxides (NO2) in road transport. He is 40 micrograms per cubic meter of air, annual average. This will not change. The EU countries are obliged to take this limit to be observed – and with what measures. Driving bans.

The Federal administrative court in Leipzig has decided a year ago that driving bans are, in principle, permissible, but they must be proportionate. To prevent this, the strictest of all measures, if possible, and to create a uniform Federal regime, wants to change coalition in the Federal Immission control act. The goal: to Less loaded regions, in which 50 micro grams of NO2 in the annual average not to be exceeded, to come forward with other measures as driving bans in the improvement of the air.

The bill States, "in General" should be the driving bans a load of 50 micro-grams relatively. The Federal government is relying on the effectiveness of its funding programs, Software Updates, renew the fleet with low-emission vehicles and other measures of cities and countries. The EU Commission against the national change in the law, in principle, no concerns, because this soft of EU law.

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What does this mean for other cases?

The German environmental aid Association (DUH) has more than 30 German cities with better air pollution – specifically on compliance with the EU limit value – sued. Because the Change of the ambient air protection act does not change the applicable legal situation, the Commission decision also has no impact on the pending lawsuits. Bans apply, for example, in Hamburg, there may be in the future in other cities. It's the DUH about forcing cities exceeding the NO2 limit value, effective counter-measures.

"We are pleased about every city that creates it without driving bans," said Remo Klinger to the daily mirror. The lawyer representing the DUH in most procedures. On Wednesday the club had with the city of Wiesbaden, agreed, without the need of prohibitions. Klinger alleges that the Federal government, to lead with the Change of the ambient air protection act, the Public "misled". "The law is redundant." DUH managing Director Jürgen Resch spoke of "a smokescreen".

Can feel the Minister of transport with his criticism of the limits confirmed?

no. The EU Commission has explicitly made it clear that at the limit "not be shaken". The Federal Minister of transport, Andreas Scheuer (CSU) had recently called for a re - evaluation of the NO2 measurement methods and the EU limit value and, among other things, on the opinion of 100 Pulmonologists supported. Also the traffic law had demanded to check the limit. The recent decision in Brussels not to follow this appeal. In the context of a regular "Fitness Checks" of the air quality Directive, but existing EU rules are checked currently. This process will take two years and will end in 2019 with an assessment of whether the rules have been proven.

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