Due to the increased awareness of the importance of tackling pollution and mitigating GHG emissions due to its impact on climate change, many cities in Europe have chosen to develop unique strategies for the transport sector. One of these is the implementation of Low Emission Zones (LEZ). Berlin is an example of a progressive and effective implementation of such a measure.
Source: Shanghai Manual: A Guide for Sustainable Urban Development in the 21st Century (2010)
Like many other cities, Berlin was concerned about the need to reduce emissions in the city core, and therefore designed their LEZ to be the inner city within the urban railway ring. This area is 88 km2, and one third of the city's inhabitants live within the ring. Four different types of classifications were created according to the emissions standards that a particular car met. Both a monetary and traffic registry penalty are enforced if vehicles do not meet the emissions standards required to drive in each particular zone within the city.
The scheme has been successful and has produced beneficial impacts on pollution and congestion. Some of these impacts for phase 1 (before 2010) are-
-Net reduction of 24 per cent of exhaust particulate emissions and 14 per cent lower
NOx emissions from Berlin's motor traffic
- impact on annual PM10 (fine particulates) pollution is about a 3 per cent reduction
- SO2-concentrations have fallen to 5 per cent of the levels 20 years ago
- A decrease of traffic by 4 per cent inside the zone and 6 per cent in the surrounding
- 70 per cent of high polluting passenger cars and more than 50 per cent of old
commercial vehicles have disappeared from the city center
- Reduction of 73 per cent of "no sticker" (class 1) passenger cars and 53 per cent of
commercial vehicles when comparing 2006-2008.