Harmful diesel emissions in our Government's sights as Europe moves against the fuel

Officials are looking at how to cut harmful diesel emissions in New Zealand, as a ruling in Germany adds to growing moves against the fuel. 

Germany is the latest European country to move against diesel vehicles. Source: 1 NEWS

Germany's highest court is now allowing cities to ban diesel cars if pollution gets too high.

The German ruling follows the UK and France banning the sale of new diesel and petrol cars from 2040. 

A number of other cities around Europe, including Athens, have also said they intend to ban diesel cars.

But will New Zealand join what's being described as a 'global trend'?

"I've asked officials for advice on a range of options that we can use to address both the health impacts and the climate impacts," said Julie Anne Genter, Associate Transport Minister.

A 2012 report found found emissions from vehicles cause 256 premature deaths annually in New Zealand, costing $934 million. 

As of last year there were 821,560 diesel vehicles on our roads, 135,837 of those trucks and 9,979 are buses. 

Emissions Consultant Gerda Kuschel says in cities like Auckland "when you're looking at locations to put more people closer to a roadway, you need to maybe look at that roadway in terms of how you're going to manage it to make sure that you're not exposing more people to air pollution".

The Road Transport Forum says the truck and freight industry in New Zealand is ready to adapt. 

"I think we are on the cusp of major change," said Ken Shirley, Road Transport Forum chief executive.

He says the forum is working closely with the Government about what more can be done. 

"We have electric trucks out there now in New Zealand. Envirowaste, Waste Management and other garbage collectors, have electric trucks out there now. They're particularly well suited to that."

And Mr Shirley says it's only a matter of time before we see more electric trucks through out the country.