The ZPA air protection zone of Arve valley
On 09.05.2017, an order was signed by the Prefect of the Department of Haute-Savoie (Annecy) introducing the Crit’Air Vignette within the Arve valley which came into force on 01.01.2018.
This regulation particularly applies to truck traffic over 7,5 tons in the French Alps, between Geneva, Chamonix and Italy, which is mostly responsible for the air pollutants in the sensitive area of Arve valley.
The relevant order n°DDT 2017-1030 of 09.05.2017 stipulates that the environmental zone will enter into force on 01.09.2017 and driving bans may be issued for certain EURO classes. Since 01.01.2018, the driving bans are controlled with the help of the Crit’Air Vignette. The competent prefect decides if the temporary air protection zone (ZPA) needs to be activated as soon as the air pollutant values are too high.
Driving bans depending on air pollution
The driving ban applies only to trucks over 7,5 tons, which have no Crit’Air Vignette or a sufficient badge class, and therefore are not allowed to drive in case of a permanent air pollution peak. This would then exclude the Crit’Air Vignette 5 from driving through the zone. A list of trucks not affected by driving restrictions can be found on pages 4 to 7 of the order, which is available here in French. According to the authorities, passenger cars are not yet affected by this regulation.
The borders of the ZPA environmental zone of Arve valley
This measure will affect the 41 cities and municipalities of the 2012 air protection plan of the Arve valley, which are located along the 80 km of the course of the river, between the municipality of Contamine-sur-Arve at the crossing of the A40 and the A410 and the Arve source behind the town of Argentière (municipality of Le Tour).
The traffic affected by this environmental zone will thus be restricted between the crossing of the A40 and A419 on the A40 until Le Fayet, as well as further on the N205 until the bifurcation to the Mont Blanc tunnel, and on the N1506 to Chamonix and Argentière.
The A40 exit from Geneva, in addition, is the main route to the Mont Blanc tunnel, which is crossed by vehicles driving to Turin and Milan through Le Fayet and the national road N205.
In this context, it is of particular importance that the French minister for the environment, Ségolène Royale, has started a dialogue with the Italian government aimed at declaring the whole French side of the N205—so from Arve of Les Pelerins until the Mont Blanc tunnel—as an environmental zone. In this case, all traffic to and from Italy will be affected. An alternative route will thus not be available any longer.
You can find a list of all the affected municipalities for every case here.
The highway A40, which goes along the Arve valley, is the most travelled road between northern Europe and Italy. This highway leads to the Mont Blanc tunnel, which is crossed by 5,000 trucks every day. The geographical location of the Arve valley, which lies deep between two high mountain tops, contributes to the lack of wind, which in turn causes the fine dust to stay longer than usual in the valley’s air.
Table overview of the environmental zone
Which are the characteristics of ZCR, ZFE, ZPA and ZPAd zones in France?
The website LEZ-france.fr shows which different LEZ (Low-Emission-Zone) apply in France. What are ZCR, ZFE, ZPA and ZPAd environmental zones in France and for which vehicle types do they apply at which times of day and night?
All information about the different types of LEZ in France can be found under the menu option French Environmental Zones.
An overview of the current status of access rights to all European environmental zones is available in our free Green-Zones app.