Due to high levels of air pollution in the Ruhr Area, a Clean Air Plan was introduced in the Ruhr region for the first time on 4 August 2008.
The Regional Governments of Düsseldorf, Münster and Arnsberg have developed three partial plans for Ruhr Area West, North and East with the cities, and have compiled these to form an overall plan. With 110 individual elements in the sectors of trade, industry, private households and transportation, it is hoped that air quality can be sustainably improved.
As a major transportation measure, on 1 October 2008 there were nine environmental zones set up in the Ruhr Area, including in Essen, with a total area of around 225 square kilometres.
Uniform regulations applied to all environmental zones (e.g. prohibition on driving motor vehicles without stickers and exception regulations).
As the improvement in air quality achieved thus far is not yet sufficient to meet the statutory limit values for fine particles (PM10) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2), an advanced version of the Clean Air Plan came into force on 15 October 2011. As a result of this new Clean Air Plan, the environmental zone has been expanded.
Larger environmental zone from 1 January 2012
With effect from 1 January 2012, a coherent environmental zone has been established in the Ruhr Area. This environmental zone stretches from Duisburg to Dortmund, and covers an area of around 850 square kilometres.
Within the marked zone, it is prohibited to drive any motor vehicle that does not have an environmental sticker. With effect from 1 January 2013, it will be prohibited to drive any vehicle with a red sticker. After 1 July 2014, the environmental zone will be off limits for vehicles with red or yellow stickers.
Applications for exemption permits are possible to a limited extent.
The environmental sticker...
...has been required for vehicles to drive within the environmental zone, since 1 October 2008. Until 31 December 2012, only vehicles without a sticker will be barred from the environmental zone. Arrangements for exceptions are available.
A sticker is not only required in the Ruhr Area. There are environmental zones throughout Germany.
What sticker your vehicle receives can be found with the help of the emissions table on your vehicle registration document. A sticker can be obtained from the motor vehicle licensing office, from ADAC, or from the quality testing authorities (TÜV, DEKRA, GTÜ, GTS), but also in any repair garage that performs exhaust gas analysis.
Retrofitting diesel vehicles with fine particle filters (subsidy)
The retrofitting of diesel vehicles with fine particle filters will continue to be subsidised in 2012. The owners of cars and utility vehicles with a permitted total weight of up to 3.5 tonnes (light utility vehicles) can receive a cash subsidy from the state of up to 330 euros for the retrofit. The Federal Ministry for the Environment has made a total of 30 million euros available for this year. This allows around 90,000 retrofits to be subsidised.
Applications can be submitted to the Bundesamt für Wirtschaft und Ausfuhrkontrolle (Federal Office Office of Economics and Export Control) in Eschborn, provided that the retrofit takes place between 1 January and 31 December 2012.
For further information and application forms, or if you want to know whether a fine particle filter is available for your vehicle, please use the corresponding link on the right-hand side under "Quick information".
Your contact partners:
Hotline: +49 (0)201/88-88888
Essen environmental hotline: +49 (0)201/88-59999