Environmental zones in Europe

Numerous cities in Germany but also in other European countries have established so-called "environmental zones" to reduce the emission of particulate matter in these specific cities. Also consumers from other countries will have to respect the restrictions.

Update : January 2017

Environmental zones

No environmental zones

No environmental zones with some exceptions

No information

Austria

No information.

Belgium

Antwerp is a Low Emission Zone (LEZ). Only cars which comply with certain environmental requirements are admitted in the city centre and a part of Linkeroever. This is applicable for cars registered in Belgium and elsewhere. Check here if your car complies. 


Does your car comply with the requirements but it is not registered in Belgium? You should register. Registration isn't required for vehicles registered in the Netherlands.


Your car doesn't comply? Day passes are available up to 8 times a year at 35 euros.

Bulgaria

No environmental zone in this country.

Croatia

No environmental zone in this country.

Cyprus

No environmental zone in this country.

Czech Republic

No environmental zones in this country. Prague may adopt such zones in the upcoming years but the details are not yet available nor finalized.

Denmark

No environmental zones in this country but more and more cycling lanes are created to reach 50% of the working people using this mode of transport.

Estonia

No environmental zones.

Finland

There is one scheme in place in Helsinki: an Environmental Zone for buses and garbage trucks (dustbin lorries).

France

France has implemented environmental zones called « Zones à Circulation Restreinte (ZRC) » which describes areas with a restricted traffic ability and visible through specific panels. 25 cities (generally including suburbs) have announced to follow this initiative. The permission to drive in an environmental zone « ZRC » is achieved by purchaising an Air Quality Certificate called "Crit’air" . This certificate which promotes cleaner vehicles is a round sticker which correspondants to a vehicle class defined according to air polluant emissions. The local authority decides what kind of Crit’air category is allowed to enter the environmental zone. Check if your city is concerned.

Be aware : The French environmental badge is also mandatory for vehicules registred abroad. 

  • Green badge for vehicles without CO2 emission (electric and hybrid);
  • Purple badge for Euro 5/6 cars using Gasoline produced after 1st January 2011and for all Hybrids;
  • Yellow badge for Euro 4 cars using Gasoline (produced between 01.01.2006 and 31.12.2010) - Euro 5-6 for diesel cars produced since 1st January 2011;
  • Orange badge for Euro 2/3 cars using Gasoline (produced between 01.01.1997 and 31.12.2005) and Euro 4 for diesel cars produced between 01.01.2006 and 31.12.2010);
  • Red badge for Euro 3 cars using Diesel and (produced between 01.01.2001 and 31.12.2005);
  • Grey badge for Euro 2 cars using Diesel and (produced between 01.01.1997 and 31.12.2000);

Notice : Older vehicles covered by less stringent emission standards are not eligible for a certificate.

Depending on local decisions using a certificate can offer some advantages. For example parking advantages, or when there are high pollution levels and local authorities introduce differentiated traffic measures.

The badge is available for cars, motorcycles, buses and coaches... through a dedicated website. The amount is approx. 5 EUR (including shipping fees). Get your certificate!

 

 

Germany

Numerous German cities have established so-called "environmental zones" to reduce the emission of particulate matter in these specific cities. Also consumers from other countries will have to respect the restrictions. So, within these environmental zones you are only allowed to drive with a badge that certifies the pollutant class of your car. Cars with the highest pollutant class will not get the badge meaning that you are not allowed to drive in these „Umweltzonen“.

If you drive without such a badge within one of the „Umweltzonen“ you will have to pay a fine of €40. This rule is also applicable for cars which are not registered in Germany.

Greece

No restriction to the road Traffic regarding the pollution but especially for Athens city, there are existing “three rings”.

1/ The “ narrow ring” on which the circulation of vehicles is permitted according to the last digit of the number plates. On even dates, the entrance of the above mentioned ring is free for the vehicles with registration number ending by even numbers (0, 2, 4, 6 and 8). During odd dates, the entrance is free for the vehicles with registration number ending by odd numbers (1, 3, 5, 7 and 9). The limits of the narrow ring is marked with special signs with the words   “Δ” on a yellow background, which can be found in each incoming street in ring. This measure is applicable each year from the first Monday of September and stops at the second or third Friday of July of the following year, from Mondays to Thursdays between 07.00 and 20.00 and on Fridays from 07.00 to 15.00. The measure is not applicable on weekends, public holidays and other days to be 24-hour strikes by public transport. It excludes, among  other cases:  the "green" vehicles (see below "green" ring), or vehicles States.

2/ The “wider ring”  which includes a large part of the agglomeration of Athens. The wider ring is rarely applied, only when the level of pollutants in Athens exceeds a particular increased limit, by a decision of the Minister for Environment, energy and climate change. Traffic is not allowed within the narrow ring and in the rest wider ring is permitted for vehicles only alternately on the basis of the last digit of the number plate.

3/ Since September 2012, a new decision of Minister of the Environment,  has entered into force implementing the measure of the  “green ring” on the basis of  environmental conditions and criteria. In particular, traffic is allowed without any restriction within the narrow ring of electric vehicles and vehicles which meet the provisions of Regulation 715/2007 (Euro 5 and Euro 6) or vehicles emitting carbon dioxide less than 140g/km.

Hungary

No environmental zone in this country. 

Iceland

There are no specific environmental zones but some streets in the city centre are closed for car traffic during summer and/or daytime .

Ireland

There are no specific green zones but there are traffic calming measures designed to limit the flow of heavy goods traffic to the major cities (Dublin and Cork) by means of a port tunnel, see "Dublin tunnel" and "Jack Lynch tunnel". See also for information on the Irish Government's clean air policy and initiatives. 

Italy

Italy has many different low emission zones with differing standards and time periods, a road tolling scheme in Milan and many access regulations. In many of Italy's historic city centers, restrictions and prohibited entry has been introduced. This is largely for the purpose of reducing the environmental impact in densely populated and conservation areas, and to create safer conditions for pedestrians. In such areas, only residents and people with special permission may enter by car. The sign is a white square with a red circle and the words 'Zona Traffico Limitato - ZTL' . Signs for restricted zones usually start at the beginning of the city's main roads where the distance to the zone is indicated. It is usually timed and often between 08.00 - 18.00 but may vary from city to city. Drivers without a special permission to enter should avoid driving into environmental zones as they may run the risk of being caught on camera and then fined.

Latvia

No information.

Lithuania

No environmental zones.

Luxembourg

No environmental zone in this country.

Malta

CVA (City Vehicle Access) system in Valletta. This system is intended to limit the amount of vehicles accessing the city sensor with the aim of reducing traffic and pollution in the area, being a heavily built up one with a high density of residences and commercial outlets, most of which are housed in buildings of high heritage interest.

The system works through a set of cameras, distributed at all access and exit points of the city. These cameras record the Vehicle Registration Numbers (VRN) of all vehicles accessing and exiting the city. Owners of these vehicles are then required to pay a fee for the time spent within the city area. Customers may choose to prepay or post pay these fees.

Moreover, there are a number of exemptions for residents and other people with commercial interests in the area

Netherlands

There are several environmental zones. This is an area in the centre of large municipalities where access is limited for trucks that emit too much particulate matter and nitrogen oxides. The purpose of the environmental zone is to meet air quality standards.

Norway

Environmental zones do exist in most of the major cities in Norway.

Poland

No environmental zone in this country.

Portugal

No information.

Romania

There are no environmental areas but some cities, such as Bucharest, Baia Mare, that have banned car circulation in the old city centre, mainly for touristic and restoration purposes.

Slovakia

No information.

Slovenia

No information.

Spain

No restriction to the road Traffic regarding the pollution. The only forbidden circulation in some neighborhoods of the cities is regarding the normal access to the center of the city, but without no relation to the pollution.

The "Plan de Mejora de Calidad del Aire" (Improving air quality) lays down that on 2015/2016 the road Traffic in the center of our cities will start to be restricted due to the pollution. Madrid City Hall has established a traffic restriction (based on the plate number); accordingly half of the cars will not be allowed to circulate those pollution picks days.

Sweden

There are environmental zones in the municipalities of Stockholm, Malmö, Helsingborg, Göteborg, Lund, Mölndal, Umeå and Uppsala. These environmental zones have requirements for heavy trucks and buses (total weight over 3.5 tonnes). The local regulations are the same for all Swedish cities with environmental zones and they are based on the rules set out in the Road Traffic Ordinance (SFS 1998: 1276, Chapter 10). Updated list.

United Kingdom

No specific environmental zones but installation of a toll system to access London since 2013, more and more cycling lanes in the city and touristic areas such as Big Ben and Buckingham Palace.


We thank the European Consumer Centers for the provided information. Utmost care has been dedicated to their composition. However, the ECC France does not guarantee the accuracy of the information.

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