Important information for British journalists, policymakers and drivers faced with ULEZ zones.
German regional public broadcaster NDR (Northern German Broadcasting) has made a film investigating the truth behind the diesel driving bans brought in by the authorities in several German cities.
Key findings were:
– Pollution levels often only breached legal limits at kerbside monitoring stations, and not in nearby parks and streets where people were likely to spend time
– Levels of pollution in a domestic kitchen were 30 times higher than the legal limit for outside when a gas cooker was on for 15 minutes
– Medical experts stated that there was no evidence that the pollutant driving ULEZ zones (NO2) was harmful to public health – if it was, then there would be a health warning on gas cookers.
– Nobody, right up to Chancellor Angela Merkel, was prepared to defend the health reasons why the EU limit for NO2 was set at less than half what was deemed necessary in the USA (40microgrammes per cubic metre vs 103).
ABD Air Quality Campaign Manager Paul Hemingway commented: “The German cities which have been forced through legal action to bring in punitive measures against diesel drivers have seen scrapyards full of perfectly good cars, causing real economic distress to low paid workers who bought their cars in good faith. And, all, so it seems, for no good reason”.
In the UK, ULEZ zones charging drivers of pre 2016 diesels to enter, are a reality in London and are planned in Birmingham, with other cities following on. The same flawed arguments are being used to justify these as in Germany – and the effects will be equally devastating for those driving pre 2016 diesels who cannot afford to change.
Yet the UK media seems, for the most part, to be content to parrot the official line without subjecting it to even the most cursory professional investigation.
“Thank goodness for the Germans,” continued Hemingway. “Everyone who has an interest in this subject should start asking the proponents of ULEZ zones the same tough questions.”