The Berlin environmental zone is an area where only vehicles that comply with emission standards are permitted to drive. Inner city air quality has much improved.
In the densely inhabited central areas of Berlin the limits of particles (PM10) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) have been exceeded on numerous arterial roads. Road traffic is the principle source of these pollutants in Berlin with a share of contamination reaching approximately 40 % for particulates and 80 % for nitrogen dioxide. In order to improve health protection for the local population, traffic emissions must be reduced. Through the introduction of the environmental zone, the proportion of inhabitants affected by the maximum levels being exceeded will be reduced by a quarter. Even housing areas which do not border busy roads will benefit from these measures.
The environmental zone has been effective since 1 January 2008. In order to relieve the air in Berlin from pollution and improve the quality of life for its residents, the traffic restrictions are considered permanent.