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Berlin – the eco-friendly city

The rumour about banning diesel vehicles in Berlin became reality this week. Which roads and which cars are affected? When will the driving restrictions start? Here is a summary about the most important answers about this topic.

Like other cities, Berlin has to comply with the statutory nitrogen oxide limits in order to protect the health of the population. Since diesel vehicles are among the main sources of emissions, in October 2018 the Berlin Administrative Court ordered driving bans for individual road sections in the urban area.

Transport Senator Regine Günther presented a new clean air plan to impose driving restrictions on diesel cars on eight main roads, such as Leipziger Straße, Brückenstraße, Friedrichstrasse, Reinhardtstraße, Stromstraße, Alt-Moabit, Hermannstraße and Silbersteinstrasse. The length of the transit bans is 2.9 kilometers. Although the restriction affects significant areas of the city it only applies to 0.05 percent of the entire road network of Berlin. In July 2019, the new Clean Air Plan was finally approved by the Senate. There are no exceptions to the diesel driving prohibitions, however, so-called neighboring regulations (Anlieger-Regelung) apply in the affected road sections. It states that those who have a professional or private cause in the street are exempted from the restriction. These include residents and their visitors, craftsmen, customers of shops, patients of medical practices and home-care services.

In addition to the prohibition, there should be further measures to improve the air of Berlin. Tempo 30 signs are being set up on more than 30 streets. Affected are the areas of Sonnenallee, Spandauer Damm, Torstraße, Invalidenstraße, Turmstraße, Mariendorfer Damm and Mehringdamm. Parking space management will be expanded from 40 percent to 75 percent of the area within the S-Bahn ring. Parking fees are expected to increase by 20 percent. The Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH - German Environmental Relief), which had called for the ban on diesel vehicles in court, withdrew their proposal to extend the prohibition to the entire environmental zone of the capital. However, it can not be ruled out that the driving restrictions will someday be extended even to the city highway.

The driving bans in Berlin should have been effective since 1 July 2019. This deadline was delayed because the new clean air plan was only adopted at the end of July and the signs were custom-made. This means for drivers that the restrictions will be implemented from November 2019. The first signs were installed on Friday, November 22 in Silbersteinstraße in Neukölln. On Monday (25th of November), it also started in Mitte, in the Brückenstraße and the Stromstraße. The remaining signs are to be mounted during the week. If you see the signs on the street, it means that the diesel car restriction is effective.

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