1. ITV Report

German cities set to ban diesel cars to reduce air pollution

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Sejal Karia

German cities will be given the right to ban diesel cars as part of plans to combat air pollution.

The Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig ruled that the cities of Stuttgart and Dusseldorf will be allowed to ban diesel cars as part of environmental moves.

Campaigners have sued a number of cities in the country recently, saying they are duty-bound to cut excessive air pollution in order to protect people's health. Nitrogen oxide, or NOx, is emitted by diesel cars which causes breathing problems and thousands of deaths each year.

Many state employees fear enforcing bans could become an administrative nightmare.

Both Stuttgart and Dusseldorf will need to provide evidence that any ban would be proportionate to the aim of cutting emissions to the legal limit.

There would be no need for those cities which choose to ban diesel vehicles to compensate those who own cars which would fall foul of the new rules.

The banning of diesel cars will hopefully reduce air pollution. Credit: PA

One of Germany's oldest and largest environmental organisations applauded the decision, saying "the pressure on politicians and manufacturers has increased significantly" to take measures to reduce pollution.

The Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union said "affected cities must now be made the trailblazers of a transportation U-turn as soon as possible to strike a balance between mobility needs and environmental and health protection".

Chancellor Angela Merkel says she hopes that measures to reduce air pollution in German cities will have an effect soon.

Merkel said the government would examine the verdict and meet with cities to discuss which measures to take.

But she said that many cities only just exceed the legal threshold and "we may be able to meet the limits very soon."

Merkel went on to insist that the ruling wouldn't affect all diesel car owners in the country.