Information on the traffic ban for diesel vehicles
From 1 January 2019 the Land Baden-Wuerttemberg will initiate in the environmental zone Stuttgart a year-round traffic prohibition for all vehicles with diesel motors with the emission standard 4 / IV and lower. This is one of the sanctions from the third update of the Clean Air Programme. For the residents of the city of Stuttgart a transitional period shall apply until 31 March 2019. Following the decisions of the Higher Administrative Court (November 2018) a traffic ban from 1 January 2020 for diesel vehicles with Euro 5 /V is under preparation as a supplement to the present plan update. Whether such a traffic ban is actually necessary will be revealed by the analysis of pollution levels which will take place mid-2019.
The traffic ban for diesel vehicles is based on the high level of air pollution. Whereas fine dust pollution has considerably decreased, limits for nitrogen dioxide are still considerably exceeded. In 2017 the annual average for nitrogen dioxide was 73 micrograms per cubic metre at the measuring point "Am Neckartor". Compared to the previous year this value was 9 micrograms lower, but it is still considerably higher than the limit of 40 micrograms.
The third update of the Clean Air Programme 2018 (PDF) includes exceptions from the traffic ban for diesel vehicles. The City of Stuttgart is responsible for implementing these regulations. The conditions for being granted a special permit and the documents required for an application for an exception can be had at stuttgart.de/en/diesel-ban/special-permit.
Questions and answers related to the traffic ban for diesel vehicles
(as of 20.12.2018)
Why is there a traffic ban for diesel vehicles?
Stuttgart's air is polluted by air toxins. This includes particulate matters and nitrogen dioxide. At different points in the city the limits specified by the EU are exceeded - intensified by Stuttgart's basin-like location. The city has already implemented many measures to combat air pollution. The pollution by particulate matters has been considerably decreased. In contrast to this, the nitrogen dioxide values are still considerably higher than the threshold. Nitrogen dioxide is mainly emitted by vehicles in road traffic. Therefore the Land will introduce a traffic ban for diesel vehicles with the emission standard 4 /IV and lower from 1 January 2019. The prohibition is set down in the third update of the Clean Air Programme for the Stuttgart region: Clean Air Programme 2018 (PDF)
Who is subject to the traffic ban for diesel vehicles?
The traffic ban will be applicable from 1 January 2019 for all vehicles with diesel motors with the emission standard Euro 4 / IV and lower - all year-round within the Stuttgart environmental zone. Diesel vehicles with the emission standard Euro 5 / V are currently exempted from the prohibition.
The Clean Air Programme includes exceptions from the traffic ban for diesel vehicles. There are general exemptions - such as commercial delivery traffic - as well as special exemptions - such as for persons working on a shift basis who cannot use local public transport (refer to the questions: Which general exemptions will be granted? and Who can apply for an exemption on a case-by-case basis?).
For residents of the city of Stuttgart there will be a transitional period until 31 March 2019. From 1 April 2019 they will also be subject to the traffic ban for diesel vehicles.
For all vehicles for which an exemption from the applicable sticker regulation has been issued, a special regulation shall be applicable (refer to: What happens to valid special permits?).
Where do you find the emission standard for diesel vehicles?
When will the traffic ban for diesel vehicles be effective?
The traffic ban for all vehicles with a diesel motor with emission standard Euro 4 / IV and lower will be effective from 1 January 2019. For residents (primary and secondary residence) of the city of Stuttgart there is a transitional period until 31 March 2019. From 1 April 2019 they will also be subject to the traffic ban for diesel vehicles.
What happens to valid special permits?
Exemptions from the current sticker regulation (green sticker) have been issued for a few diesel vehicles. These are all temporary. When the existing special permit expires, there will be new conditions for issuing a new one. The assessment shall be made on a case-by-case basis. All vehicles shall be subject to this regulation, regardless of place of residence or registered business office. Vehicle owners involved are recommended to contact firstname.lastname@example.org in good time by e-mail.
Where does the traffic ban for diesel vehicles apply?
The traffic ban for diesel vehicles applies all year-round in the Stuttgart environmental zone, this means throughout the entire city area. Three routes are excluded from the prohibition, so certain districts can be reached (these are identified by the signage "Zufahrt zu ... frei" ("free access to #"):
- Hafenbahnstraße between B10 and Obertürkheimer Straße
- Heerstraße, Filderstraße, Neuhauser Straße along the A8
- B10 and B27a between Korntal-Münchingen and Kornwestheim
Are there exemptions from the traffic ban?
Yes. The exception concept is set out in the third update of the Clean Air Programme 2018 (PDF). Supplies to the population are ensured by the general exception of commercial delivery traffic in any event. The police and fire brigade are exempted from the ban as well, so rescue work is ensured. Further exceptions shall be granted for medical emergencies and people with disabilities. Some of the exceptions are regulated in general. In such cases the road users do not need additional special permits. In other cases a special permit must be applied for.
What general exceptions apply?
- Commercial delivery traffic has access at any time
- Certain vehicles may access at any time (The legal basis is the Federal Immission Control Act)
- According to the general ruling - the order - of the City of Stuttgart certain drives, certain vehicles, certain persons and certain purposes of the drive are permitted at any time
1. By delivery traffic the business transport of goods is meant, if these are being delivered to traders or customers. Delivery traffic shall also include drives of tradesmen and construction vehicles that are used as mobile workshops or for transporting tools or material and are essential on site. The prerequisite is that the vehicles were purchased before 1 January 2019. As can be seen on the sign, a special permit is not necessary on a case-by-case basis.
2. The following vehicles may be further used in the Stuttgart city area:
- Mobile machines and devices (for example lift trucks with license plates)
- Work machines
- Agricultural and forestry traction units
- Two-wheel and three-wheel motor vehicles
- Ambulances, emergency medical cars with the sign "Arzt Notfalleinsatz" (Doctor - Emergency) (according to § 52 clause 6 of the Highway Traffic Act)
- Vehicles driven by persons or with which persons are driven who are severely disabled, helpless or blind, proven by the code "aG", "H" or "Bl" registered in the disabled pass
- Vehicles for which special rights according to § 35 of the traffic regulations may be claimed. This essentially comprises special rights for the armed forces (Bundeswehr), federal police force, fire brigade, civil protection, police and customs service, vehicles of the rescue services and measurement vehicles of the Federal Network Agency for Electricity, Gas, Telecommunications, Post and Rail. Special rights are also enjoyed by vehicles which are used for the construction, maintenance or cleaning of roads and road space facilities or waste collection and are identified by red and white warning devices
- Vehicles of non-German forces which are not contracting parties to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, which are in Germany with the course of military cooperation, provided that these are used for urgent military reasons
- Civil vehicles used on behalf of the Bundeswehr, provided that these are urgent for compliance with sovereign tasks of the Bundeswehr
- Vintage cars (according to § 2 No. 22 German vehicle authorisation regulation) with a license plate according to § 9 clause 1 or § 17 of the German vehicle authorisation regulation ("H" license plate), as well as vehicles which are registered in another member state of the European Union, another contracting party to the Agreement on the European Economic Area or Turkey if they comply with equivalent requirements
- Test or transfer drives with red license plates
- Test and transfer drives with temporary registration plates
- Drives with export license plates
- Funeral cars
- Taxis, vehicles in rented car traffic and others with permit under the Law on the Transport of Persons
- Car sharing vehicles according to § 2 No. 1 of the Law on the priority of car sharing (CsgG)
- Medical emergencies
- Severely disabled persons shall only be exempted from the traffic ban for diesel vehicles with the codes and disabilities mentioned below:
- Disabled persons with a walking impediment who prove this by the code "G" on the disabled person's pass or persons with an orange parking permit for special groups of disabled persons
- Disabled persons with double-sided amelia, phocomelia or a similar functional limitation (owners of a standardized blue EU parking permit)
- Vehicles in regular transport such as buses of SSB (until 31 December 2020)
- Starting and destination trips of touring coaches (until 31 December 2020)
Who can apply for a special permit on a case-by-case basis?
General prerequisites for granting an exception
- The vehicle is classified as emission standard 4 (green sticker)
- The vehicle owner has no alternative vehicle registered in his/her name for the purpose of the drive
- The vehicle was registered on behalf of the owner for the first time before 1 January 2019
- Drives to supply the population with essential services, in particular drives
- For the maintenance and repair of operating technical plants
- For the remedy of building damages including the elimination of water, gas and electrical damages
- For social and care services
- Emergency, support and supply vehicles of public local transport
- Special vehicles with high acquisition costs and low mileage, such as cranes and the like (provided that they are not registered as machines), heavy-duty vehicles, showmen's towing vehicles and vehicles with fixed superstructures/installations used as workplace (vehicles with technical features due to their specific purpose, such as monitoring cars, special media vehicles)
- Trips with mobile homes for leisure purposes
- Persons driving to work on a shift basis who cannot use local public transport
The applicants shall only be granted special permits in legitimate cases. The mere fact of working in Stuttgart is not sufficient for a special permit. Even commuters using Stuttgart only to pass through shall not be exempted from the traffic ban for diesel vehicles and cannot obtain a special permit in general.
The special permits are only valid for the registered and authorised purpose of drive (e.g. driving to work or a doctor's appointment) and are no general permission.
The conditions to be complied with and the documents required for the exception request are contained in stuttgart.de/en/diesel-ban/special-permit.
Where can persons from the surrounding area apply for their special permit?
Only the City of Stuttgart accepts, processes and approves applications for a special permit from applicants from Stuttgart, the region or abroad or rejects them (for modalities see the following questions).
What must tourists consider?
There is no special provision for tourists. They are also subject to the traffic ban for diesel vehicles and must apply for a special permit with the City of Stuttgart in individual cases.
Who will process the applications for a special permit?
A special permit team has been established at the Office for Public Order in Jägerstraße 14, 70174 Stuttgart.
Where and how can special permits be applied for?
From Monday, 3 December special permits can be applied for via an online tool: The applicants can upload their data and the required documents at home or en route under servicex.stuttgart.de/lhs-services/ag-diesel-verkehrsverbot. Applications can also be made personally with the responsible staff members in Jägerstraße 14, 70174 Stuttgart. Questions as to the application can also be asked in written form by mail or e-mail addressed to email@example.com.
The team can be contacted by phone under +49 711/216-32120. Office hours are Monday to Friday from 8.30 a.m. to 1 p.m., as well as Thursdays from 2 p.m. to 3.30 p.m. Moreover, the service centre of the city of Stuttgart provides information from Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. under the central public authorities' number 115.
How long does it take to process the applications?
The staff members will process the applications for special permits as quickly as possible. The processing time depends on the individual case, but also on the number of applications received.
What does a special permit cost?
There will be no fees charged for the special permit. This was decided by the majority of the municipal council of the City of Stuttgart in its meeting on 22 November 2018.
How long is a special permit valid?
Special permits are issued for a maximum term of one year and then must be renewed.
What does the special permit look like?
The special permit is sent to the applicant by mail as a document and must be carried along in the vehicle in its original form.
How are controls made?
The police will also check entry permits of moving traffic during vehicle controls on a daily basis.
With stationary traffic the urban traffic control will continue to object to violations of the environmental sticker ordinance. In this context the focus will also be on older vehicles where the verification of their emission class by label and external characteristics would be recommended. Moreover, any and all traffic offences which enter the processing run of the fine collection office will also be checked for a violation of the traffic ban for diesel vehicles.
What happens if the traffic ban is breached?
The violation of the traffic ban will be penalised with a fine of 80 Euro. The legal basis is the Federal Immission Control Act. The road user has to expect costs amounting to 108,50 Euro plus fees and expenses if the rules are breached. No points will be recorded in the national register of licences.
Clean Air Programme
From 27 August to 28 September 2018 the draft of the third update of the Clean Air programme was publicly displayed, therefore the public was able to react in accordance with § 47 clause 5a of the Federal Immission Control Act. Any comments could be submitted to the regional council (RP) Stuttgart until 12 October 2018. As the body responsible for public affairs, the City of Stuttgart also made a statement. The municipal council discussed this matter in its meeting on 11 October 2018.
The press release on the debate of the municipal council can be viewed here.
The statement of the City of Stuttgart as to the Clean Air Programme draft can be downloaded here: Statement of LHS as to LRP 2018 (PDF)
The regional council published the third update of the Clean Air Programme on 30 November 2018. The new Clean Air Programme came into effect on 3 December with its publication. It can be seen under: rp.baden-wuerttemberg.de/rps/Abt5/Ref541/Luftreinhalteplan/541_s_luft_stutt_LRP_3_FS_2018.pdf
Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH) (German Environmental Aid) has filed a suit against several states. DUH wants to oblige the states to amend their Clean Air Programmes so that the limit for nitrogen dioxide is complied with. Therefore, it is calling for a traffic ban for diesel vehicles. Besides Stuttgart the cities of Cologne, Dusseldorf and Frankfurt are also affected.
On 26 July 2017 the Stuttgart administrative court upheld the decision of DUH. In October 2017 the state government lodged an appeal (review) against the award of the administrative court. On 27 February 2017 the Federal Administrative Court dismissed the review. According to that, the court considers traffic bans for diesel vehicles in cities as generally admissible - ensuring proportionality.