Rotterdam allowed to ban old petrol cars from city center, Council of State rules

Rotterdam is allowed to ban petrol cars made before 1 July 1992 from the environmental zone in the city center, the Council of State ruled on Wednesday, overturning a previous court ruling, reports.

In 2015 the municipality of Rotterdam decided to expand its environmental zone. In addition to banning trucks and diesel cars from before 2001 from the zone, the city also forbade petrol cars from before 1 July 1992 from entering the area. A group of 14 stakeholders went to court, claiming that the municipality took insufficient account of the intersets of a small group of people who own old petrol cars when making this deicsion. Studies showed that these cars only make up 0.14 percent of total traffic in the city, and the court ruled that the environmental gain was too negilgible to allow this ban.

Rotterdam appealed aginst this ruling, and on Wednesday the Council of State ruled in the city's favor. According to the judges on the Council, expanding the environmental zone to include old petrol cars is part of a larger package of measures that together should improve air quality in the city. It does not matter that it only concerns a small group of cars, the judges ruled. 

Rotterdam traffic alderman Adriaan Visser sees the Council of State ruling as confirmation of the the city's policy to improve air quality in the Rotterdam city center. However, the municipality will not immediately start fining people who drive their old petrol cars into the environmental zone, he said to the newspaper. "Although the traffic decision is in force immediately, it will not yet be enforced", the municipality said on Wednesday. Visser added: "It is important to first carefully examine the judgment and to map out the consequences."