Older diesel cars are to be completely banned from the German city of Stuttgart in a bid to reduce air pollution, authorities have announced.
The home city of Mercedes-Benz and Porsche is the second city in Germany to order diesel cars off the streets, following Hamburg which began enforcing a ban on two main roads earlier this year.
But the ban in Stuttgart will be far more comprehensive, and bar older diesel vehicles from the entire city centre.
It will apply to almost 200,000 locally registered diesel vehicles, as well as visitors from other parts of Germany and abroad.
Like the UK, Germany is facing pressure from the European Commission to lower air pollution levels in its cities.
The ban, which will apply from January 1 next year, is a victory for environmentalists who went to court to force it on reluctant local authorities.
But it has been greeted with dismay by motorists who fear the second-hand value of their cars may be wiped out if it is followed by similar moves from other cities.
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It comes in the wake of the Dieselgate scandal,in which it emerged that Volkswagen and other German carmakers fitted diesel vehicles with software to cheat emissions tests.
Motorists have protested that the manufacturers should be made to pay the cost of retrofitting their vehicles to meet emissions standards.
“The longer we wait for older diesels to be retrofitted, the more likely we are to see driving bans. Now diesel owners are being made to pay for the wrongdoing of the car industry,” Svenja Schulze, the German environment minister said.
No city is as symbolically associated with the German car industry as Stuttgart, and despite being led by the Green Party the regional government fought hard to prevent a ban.
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But with environmentalists took the case to court and last month the state government of Baden-Württemberg was ordered to draw up plans for a ban.
In an attempt to limit the impact on motorists, Baden-Württemberg said that initially the ban would only apply to older vehicles that do not meet Euro 5 emissions standards introduced in 2009.
If the city’s air quality does not meet legal requirements by the middle of next year, the ban will be extended to cover all diesel cars that do not meet the latest Euro 6 emissions standards, which were introduced in 2014.
Similar bans on diesel cars are planned in Paris, Madrid, and Athens by 2025, and the mayor of Copenhagen wants to introduce one in the Danish capital next year.