Traffic in Munich can be very heavy, Source: Depositphotos

Munich’s new polluting car ban runs like clockwork

Munich’s new polluting car ban runs like clockwork

Local authorities will launch a low-pollution zone covering a large part of the city

As of 1 February, Munich plans to ban polluting diesel vehicles from entering a huge area in the centre of the city as part of the local authorities' bid to curb pollution. The ban, however, is only the first step in a system of restrictions the city plans to implement if pollution levels stay high.

The system has built-in exceptions and deadlines for pollution drops, making it a piece of policy that functions like clockwork. This almost machine-like policy cuts out all the politicking associated with introducing unpopular policies and boils down the subject to its core elements – are harmful nitrous dioxide levels too high or not?

The inner workings of the policy

The aim of the plan is to comply with the nitrogen dioxide limit, which has been in force since 2010, as fast as possible. The ban will affect cars that are below the diesel EURO 5/V emissions category and is made up of three steps with progressing severity.

The ban will be introduced in three stages for diesel vehicles EURO 5/V and worse. Each subsequent stage would come into force if the nitrogen dioxide cap cannot be met.

the low-emissions zoneThe low-emissions zone in Munich, Source: City of Munich 

Stage 1 set to come into effect on 1 February will apply to diesel vehicles with the emission standards Euro 4/IV and worse in the environmental zone. Delivery traffic and residents are excluded from the diesel car ban. Furthermore, craftsmen, shift workers, people with disabilities and emergency services are also exempt from the ban.

If the city still cannot meet its nitrogen cap, stage 2 will kick in on 1 October 2023.  In stage two, the threshold will be raised to diesel vehicles with an emissions standard of EURO 5/V or worse, while all exceptions from stage 1 would still apply.

If that does not curb nitrogen dioxide, stage 3 will take effect on 1 April 2024. Here, the bar on vehicles will not raise, instead, residents and delivery traffic with diesel vehicles below EURO 5/V would be banned in the zone.

On the other hand, the exceptions for craftsmen, people with disabilities and emergency services would remain in force indefinitely.



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