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Soon environmental zones in Luxembourg?

Despite attractive offers such as free public transport, the country is struggling with increased nitrogen oxide pollution from old diesel vehicles. Driving bans are imminent.

Luxembourg is one of the few countries in Western Europe that has so far avoided the introduction of environmental zones and driving bans. However, due to elevated nitrogen oxide (NOx) levels in 2018, the European Union called on the country to develop an air quality plan, thus making concrete proposals on how to improve air quality.

The plan is in the consultation phase until March this year, so citizens can also get involved in the planning. Although NOx pollution has been steadily decreasing since 2015, some regions and agglomerations and, for example, the municipality of Hesperingen continue to cause the government concern. These are to benefit from the plan.

NOx pollution in Luxembourg, as in most countries, is mainly caused by old diesel vehicles. According to Jean-Marie Strasser of the environmental administration, the decrease in nitrogen oxide levels in recent years is also due to the sustainable transport concept Modu 2.0. This promotes local public transport, which has been free of charge since the beginning of the year, and supports citizens in buying electric cars. Car pooling is also to be promoted. Instead of expanding the motorway between Luxembourg City and the economic centre in the south, a rapid transit system will transport people quickly and safely to work. An app informs citizens and warns of severe air pollution to create more awareness and sensitivity for the issue among the population.

These positive incentives could help in switching to greener mobility, and thus in improving air quality. But only if they are successfully implemented and resonate with citizens.

Pierre Dornseiffer of the environmental administration, however, sees the stricter Euro 6 emissions standard for diesel engines introduced by the EU and the accompanying switch to lower-emission vehicles as the main reason for the improvement in NOx levels. If the air quality plan and the Modu 2.0 concept are not immediately successful and the limit values can still not be met, there is probably only one alternative: diesel Euro 5 driving bans are imminent.

You can find existing diesel driving bans and environmental zones in our Green-Zones app. Of course, you can find out what will happen in Luxembourg in our blog.