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Future French environmental zones

In 2016, the French government introduced the Crit’Air Vignette in order to comply with the requirements of the European regulations on air quality (EU Directive 2008/50/CE) and better limit the recurring air pollution peaks in the country. Thanks to the introduction of the vignette, driving bans have become legally permissible. To this purpose, two different legal frameworks have been defined and adopted in France.

On the one hand, the Energy Transition and Green Growth Act (Loi de transition énergétique: LTE) and the ZCR Decree of 28.06.2016, which has so far enabled the French government to introduce permanent environmental zones (ZCR).

On the other hand, according to the Ministerial Order of 07.04.2016, new prefectural measures can also enter into force in each department in the event of an air pollution peak. The prefect then either activates the measures throughout the department or limits them to a specific area within the department (ZPAd) or to an area within a metropole or city (ZPAd).

Future LEZ environmental zones (ZFE Zones à faibles émissions)
The new Mobility Act, which was introduced by the government on 26.11.2018, defines the new legal framework for environmental zones, now referred to as “Low Emission Zones”.

In this context, the permanent ZCR environmental zones in France will be renamed ZFE zones (Zones à faibles émissions). Communities, metropolitan areas and municipalities with more than 100,000 inhabitants or an Air Protection Plan (PPA=Plan de Protection de l’Atmosphère), from the entry into force of this Act shall consider the establishment of a low emission environmental zone (ZFE) on their territory.

These zones can therefore cover the whole city or some parts of the respective city. The environmental zone is then determined by a local law after an environmental study and the approval of the local authorities.

Under the Mobility Act, new ZCR/ZFE environmental zones are planned for the following cities by 31.12.2020:

  • Aix-Marseille - Métropole Aix-Marseille Provence
  • Clermont-Ferrand - Clermont Auvergne Métropole
  • Fort-de-France
  • Grenoble – Grenoble-Alpes Métropole
  • Lyon – Grand Lyon
  • Montpellier - Montpellier Méditerranée Métropole
  • Métropole du Grand-Paris
  • Nice - Métropole Nice Côte d’Azur
  • Paris
  • Reims – Grand Reims
  • Rouen - Métropole Rouen Normandie
  • Saint-Etienne - Saint-Etienne Métropole
  • Strasbourg- Eurométropole de Strasbourg
  • Toulon - Métropole de Toulon Provence Méditerranée
  • Toulouse – Toulouse Métropole

Future ZPAd and ZPA zones (Zones de protection de l’air)
All 100 French departments have implemented the Ministerial Order of 07.04.2016, so that new ZPA zones can now be introduced on this basis and then be activated by the competent prefect in case of an air pollution peak.

The possible future zones are mostly located in cities, where particulate matter levels are permanently exceeded.

In addition to the existing temporary ZPA and ZPAd zones, other cities where particulate matter emission levels are frequently exceeded, have announced their intention to introduce a weather-dependent environmental zone.

On 25.01.2017, a study on the establishment of a ZPA environmental zone was commissioned. This should be limited to the city centre and activated in case of high air pollution.

Order here a French Crit'Air Vignette for French ZCR/ZPA zones