From: Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research
Published December 20, 2017 11:11 AM

Healthier Air due to the Low Emission Zone

The Low Emission Zone in Leipzig was established in March 2011, allowing only access of Diesel vehicles of Euro4 and higher with few exceptions. The ban of older vehicles and subsequent modernization of the car fleet resulted in slightly reduced PM10 and PM2.5 mass concentrations. However, the mass concentration of black carbon (soot particles) emitted mainly from Diesel vehicles decreased by 60% at the street site. These particles are believed to be most dangerous due to their carcinogenic trace compounds such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Furthermore, also the number concentration of ultrafine particles, which can penetrate deep into the lungs, decreased by approximately 70%. Despite modernized Diesel vehicles, nitrogen oxides concentrations did not follow these trends and remained nearly constant. The main achievement of the Low Emission Zone was the improvement of air quality by the reduction of the most dangerous particles.
The findings are part of a joint scientific study by the Saxon State Office of the Environment, Agriculture and Geology (LfULG) and the Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research (TROPOS).    

From the beginning, the City of Leipzig implemented the Low Emission Zone at the highest regulatory level. Only vehicles with green emission stickers have been allowed to enter the low emission zone. Leipzig’s low emission zone covered approximately two thirds of the total city area. At the time of implementation, the City of Leipzig was under heavy criticism, mainly from small and mid-sized enterprises, which were put under pressure to renew their fleet of light duty vehicles to a modern standard. The City of Leipzig received the final report on the 'Effect of the Low Emission Zone on Air Quality' from the Saxon State Office for the Environment (LfULG) and the Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research (TROPOS). The final conclusion of the report was very positive. Scientists from both institutes complimented the regular air quality observations by additional measurements and investigated changes over the period of seven years. Thirteen monitoring stations in Saxony provided data. In seven of these 13 stations, black carbon and ultrafine particle have been additionally measured. Although, these particle measurements are not prescribed by law. 

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