Apparently, the last word has not yet been spoken about the planned diesel driving ban on the Mittlerer Ring. At a meeting of the Munich Regional Planning Association (RPV), the city of Munich agreed on Tuesday that an exception could be discussed for the section between the A 96 and A 995 motorway junctions in the south, because there is no motorway ring road in this area.
Representatives of the surrounding municipalities and the planning association had expressed massive criticism of the city’s approach at the meeting in Oberhaching. When updating the clean air plan for Munich, the effects of the gradual driving ban on the surrounding area were hidden, said RPV managing director Christian Breu. Andreas Bauer, head of environmental protection in the city of Munich, defended the approach, but was able to promise concessions for the sections in the south.
From February next year, the Mittlerer Ring and downtown Munich are to become a taboo zone for diesel vehicles that meet the Euro 4 emissions standard. In October, this will also affect Euro 5 drivers and from April 2024 onwards, all exemptions will eventually be abolished. The city of Munich is thus drawing the conclusion from a comparison with the Verkehrsclub Deutschland and the Deutsche Umwelthilfe, who had complained about clean air. As Bauer made clear to the municipal representatives in the planning association, the city had no choice but to act quickly. “We don’t have the time,” he said. The year 2022 was the last in which the limit values were allowed to be exceeded.
In 2021, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) condemned Germany because the limit values for the air pollutant nitrogen oxide had been significantly exceeded in many cities for years. “The only city that is still breaking the limit is Munich,” emphasized Bauer. For a long time, the responsibility for this lay with the government of Upper Bavaria, but since June 2021 the state capital has had to take care of clean air itself. If she doesn’t, there are hefty penalties, Bauer spoke of up to one million euros a day.
“I have no understanding of the path that was taken there”
Despite all the time pressure, people in the surrounding area still feel ignored and would have expected a joint discussion – even if, from a purely formal point of view, such a discussion is not planned before a vote in the city council. “The surrounding area has to be taken into account because of the extraordinarily high number of commuters,” Breu warned. Unterschleißheim Mayor Christoph Böck (SPD) emphasized: “I have no understanding of the path that was taken there.” His Karlsfeld colleague Stefan Kolbe (CSU) made an appeal to the state capital: “We should treat each other sensibly.” The regional traffic will be handled in this way via the district of Munich and the A 99, stated the mayor of Brunnthal, Stefan Kern (CSU).
The regional planning association is convinced that it would have been different than with driving bans. Managing Director Breu pointed out that there were various forecasts, one of which came to the conclusion that the installation of air filters and a bus lane for electric buses would also push the immission values at the Landshuter Allee hotspot below the critical limit. The forecasts and the measures should therefore be checked again. Driving bans from 2024 onwards might no longer be necessary.
The city originally had high expectations of the filter systems. After a year of testing on Landshuter Allee, however, it was found that the results were worse rather than better. “The forecasts were very optimistic,” said Bauer. There is no way around a three-stage plan for the diesel driving ban, the city cannot plan step by step. However, there is an exit option. “After stage one we will see how it develops. If that is enough, we will no longer switch to the second stage,” said Bauer.
In the surrounding area, however, people were particularly annoyed by the advice that commuters should switch to buses and trains. The draft of the city’s clean air plan states that it should be “generally pointed out that there is a high-quality public transport service in the city and region with points of connection between private motorized transport and public transport, which will be further expanded in the future with a high investment volume. ” You can at best laugh about it in the surrounding area. “Although there are considerations, the realization of such traffic junctions is still in the future,” says the RPV statement.
In view of the large number of people affected, such as commuters, the planning association is now asking the city to investigate whether individual measures or a selective route restriction would be more proportionate than a driving ban in one zone. Above all, he wants to ensure that the section of the Mittlerer Ring between the A 8 and A 95 motorways is exempt from driving bans for diesel vehicles with Euro 5 ratings and worse. Bauer sees no way of doing this at the end of the Salzburg autobahn, as Tegernseer Landstrasse is a hotspot. But between the motorway junctions A 96 (Lindau), A 95 (Garmisch) and A 995 (Giesing) this is an issue, since the motorway ring closure is missing here. There are already exceptions to this in the 2008 blocking concept for through-truck traffic.