All over the world there are increasing laws and restrictions being put in place to help the planet and reduce emissions, we all know about the ultra low emission zones (ULEZ) in London and how these areas are increasing. It is important to know about the laws in different parts of the world especially Europe since it is very popular for road trips ion our beloved campervans and could be on your bucket list for the future.
In this blog we are going to talk about France and update you on future law changes, which areas are going to be affected and any other vital information you may need if you are planning to road trip to France or if you need to pass through it to head somewhere else.
In January 2017, the French government introduced ‘clean air’ (Crit’Air) windscreen stickers as a legal requirement in some of its cities, these help identify a vehicles emission levels and can restrict access in order to improve air quality. These stickers are bought at a very low cost as little as €4.61 (including postage) this is a lot better than being caught out and receiving a fine of up to €135.
How do I get a Crit'Air sticker?
You can apply online for a Crit’Air sticker on the French Government website: Page d'accueil | Site officiel de la vignette Crit'Air (certificat-air.gouv.fr). Please note that this is the only way to get a Crit’Air sticker.
In order to apply you need to know what category your cars European Emission falls into, there are a lot of resources online to help you find out this information: Euro 1 to Euro 6 – find out your vehicle's emissions standard | RAC Drive.
You’ll also need to upload an image or scan of your vehicle's V5C registration form. This must be uploaded in JPEG, PNG or PDF format and the file size must be under 400KB. Like lots of other important documents for travel e.g. a passport, they can take time to process so please be sure to allow up to 6 weeks and plan accordingly ahead of time.
A Crit’Air sticker is valid for the lifetime of the vehicle it is assigned to, so if you are a regular driver you do not need to keep purchasing these just keep it visible on your vehicle!
Future changes to low emission zones in France
These restrictions are in place permanently (usually between certain hours and/or on certain days) and all vehicles seeking entry will need to physically display a sticker regardless of their category, or risk landing a fine. As of July 2023, French Low Emission Zones (ZCR) that might affect drivers arriving from the UK are currently implemented in the following locations in France:
- Aix-Marseille-Provence region
The French capital, Paris, currently has two permanent low emission zones in place: the Greater Paris ZCR and the Central Paris ZCR.
From July 2023, more strict rules have been introduced in the ZCR, meaning that only vehicles displaying Crit’Air vignettes E, 1 or 2 are allowed to enter the city between 0800 and 2000, Monday to Friday.
From January 2024, the scheme becomes more restricted with all diesel vehicles set to be banned from entering and only vehicles displaying Crit'Air E or 1 vignettes being permitted. A zero-emissions zone is planned for 2030.