German government and model cities agree on pilot projects for clean air
The German government and five so-called model cities in the country have agreed on a scheme to tackle air pollution caused by vehicle exhaust fumes, the German environment ministry (BMUB) says in a press release. The proposals made by the cities Bonn, Essen, Herrenberg, Mannheim and Reutlingen include financial incentives for users of public transport services and bicycle hire systems, the BMUB says. The five cities have been chosen as they represent different levels of pollution with nitrogen oxides (NOx) and therefore could serve as showcases for improving air quality in some 70 German cities that grapple with excessive pollution levels, the ministry argues. City representatives said citizens who “verifiably” abstain from using a car could receive discounts on public transport, car sharing and bicycle hire systems. Depending on local conditions, driving bans for lorries may also be an option, the BMBU says. According to the ministry, the federal government will financially support initiatives that can be implemented in the short term “and have a measurable positive effect on air quality”.
In order to prevent being sued by the EU commission over excessive air pollution levels in inner cities, the German government in early February proposed offering public transport free of charge in the model cities. It was later accused of “backtracking” as it added that no blanket introduction of free public transport had been intended.
Read the press release in German here.
For background, read the CLEW article German cities might test free public transport to cut pollution.