‘Ban all diesel cars in cities by 2020,’ says Greenpeace

Summary

The environmental organisation has filed a court case against the Brussels-Capital Region for exceeding nitrogen dioxide emissions, after a favourable verdict in a German court

'The time is now'

All diesel cars should be banned from cities by 2020, says the environmental organisation Greenpeace. The call has received support from the Belgian Interregional Environment Agency (IRCEL).

On Friday, a judge in Germany ruled the country’s government has failed to curb emissions of nitrogen dioxide (NO2). In Stuttgart, said the judge, the emissions have for years exceeded the European limits. He recommended a total ban on diesel cars to protect the health of the city’s residents.

Joeri Thijs of Greenpeace Belgium has called for a similar ban by 2020 on all diesel cars in Belgian cities. “The gas irritates the airways and eyes, and in the long term increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases,” he told De Morgen. The emissions, he added, contribute to the creation of ozone and fine dust.

Greenpeace wants cities and municipalities in Belgium to put the diesel ban on the agenda of next year’s municipal elections. The call is supported by Frans Fierens, director of IRCEL, who pointed out that the NO2 levels in certain places in Flanders exceed the European limits.

Following the ruling in Germany, Greenpeace has launched a court case against the Brussels-Capital Region for exceeding the emission levels.

“The pressure to address the problem is high,” said Fierens. “Indeed, the only way to do this quickly is to put an effective ban on diesel cars.”

The ban is not supported by the motor industry federation Febiac, which argues that it will lead to increased demand for petrol cars instead of more sustainable alternatives, like electric cars.

Photo: Santeri Vinamäki/Wikimedia