German Chancellor Angela Merkel has approved new funds to help improve air quality standards across the country. But there’s no news yet about hardware retro-fitting diesel cars, which remains a thorny issue.
According to Merkel’s government, it cannot present a plan on this yet. What it did do on December 3, however, is to announce additional funding to cities, in an effort to tackle air pollution linked to diesel vehicle emissions.
As reported by Deutsche Welle (DW), Germany’s international broadcaster, the decision came after a meeting, dubbed the “diesel summit,” between Chancellor Angela Merkel and representatives from cities and municipalities.
German cities are currently facing court-imposed bans on older diesel-powered vehicles. This stemmed from legal action taken by environmentalists to enforce EU regulations on air quality.
To address the issue, the German government established the “Cleaner Air” programme, in place from 2017 to 2020, to cut emissions from municipal vehicles. The German automotive sector is also making a financial contribution.
According to DW, the funding agreed to at the December 3 summit will increase the “Cleaner Air” programme from €1bn to 1.5bn. An additional €432m will be allocated to retro-fitting smaller trucks.
As for retro-fitting diesels, it remains a thorny issue, particularly over who will foot the large bill. Cities and environmental groups are demanding that the automotive industry be the one to take on the major share of the burden.
German Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer said his ministry would present guidelines on manufacturing improvements by the end of 2018.