One of the oldest spa towns in Europe dared to open the fight over the country’s emissions levels, a challenge that other big German cities did not take on so far.
The emissions scandal triggered by Volkswagen finally forced governments to take the pollution issues around the world more seriously. At least, that it is what we would like to believe. And if the local authorities did not react in this direction so far, there are still some other entities responsible enough to raise their voices. An administrative court in Wiesbaden, a small city in central western Germany and the capital of the federal state of Hesse, issued a ruling by which it is ordering the regional government to clean up diesel exhaust fumes or otherwise face a fine. The challenge issued by the court was the first one that targeted the emissions limit, forcing the local administration to find proper solutions and causing concerns in the automotive industry. It is also a clear message aimed towards the authorities saying not only that they are not acting fast enough to clean the air, but they don’t have a clue on how to act anyway. “None of the cities has any idea how we can fall below the limit values,” Olaf Scholz, the mayor of Hamburg, said in meeting with Volkswagen CEO Matthias Mueller and other car executives.
The Wiesbaden court gave the state where the city was located two-to-three years to drastically reduce nitrogen oxides emissions. The state said that it did not have a proper plan to act according to the request, arguing that authorities have “made use of all reasonable instruments” to reach the limits. Hesse is appealing the ruling.