Close this search box.
Sign up for our weekly Newsletter

Older vehicles face city bans in new European pollution curbs

French emission CRIT Air stickers
CRIT' Air stickers


28 June 2017

Crit’Air sticker bands

  • All vehicles 100% electric or hydrogen
  • 1 – Petrol and alternative fuels Euro 5 & 6 since January 1 2011
  • 2 – Petrol & alternative fuels Euro 4, from January 2006 to December 31 2010
  • 3 – Petrol and alternative fuels Euro 2 & 3, January 1 1997 to December 31 2005 & Diesels Euro 4 January 1 2006 to December 31 2010
  • 4 – Diesel Euro 3, January 1 2001 to December 31 2005
  • 5 – Diesel Euro 2 &3, January 1 1997 to December 31 2000

OLDER vehicles face city bans in new European pollution curbs – Paris bans vehicles registered pre-2000 during certain times – alongside a new range of mandatory anti-pollution Crit’Air windscreen stickers.

A law introduced in Paris in January 2017 requires all vehicles to have a sticker indicating which of six categories it fits into, showing the year of first registration, energy efficiency, and emission band. The scheme was launched at the beginning of the year in Lyon and Grenoble.

But across Europe there are more than 200 low emission zones, with some having schemes similar to the French Crit’ Air – Germany has more than 50.

Their aim is  similar to the new T-Charge or Toxicity Charge being introduced in central London from October 2017 in which the more polluting vehicles will face a daily surcharge.

But while in continental Europe there are access curbs and fines for the worst polluting models, there is the promise of access and parking benefits for the least polluting vehicles.

RAC European breakdown spokesman Simon Williams said the stickers only cost around £3.20 plus postage, adding: “Anyone caught without a sticker risks a fine of up to £117, although we understand the French police are likely to be lenient in the early days.”

The RAC also warns that application processing can take several weeks, and so you should allow plenty of time.

Also that some businesses are offering to arrange your sticker for a price – up to £45 or seven times the cost of a simple DIY application. Beware websites with official-looking addresses.

Under the Crit’ Air restrictions, banned are all diesel-fuelled vehicles showing a ‘Level 5’ sticker on their windscreen, which indicates they were produced from 1997 to 2000. Around six per cent of France’s 32 million cars fall into this category.

Vehicles registered pre-1997 and trucks and buses pre-2001 are not assigned to any category, meaning they are completely banned from the city Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm. And the levels of access are being constantly reviewed.

In Paris, the ban applies for all roads inside the A86 motorway, the second ring road around Paris, but not the A86 itself, and anyone caught driving one of these cars in Paris risks a fine.

The new measures come after Paris and other cities recorded several severe smog spikes.

What else do you need to drive abroad?

Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo said the policy was needed to persuade motorists to “change their transport modes” to cut traffic.

Paris authorities have also urged commuters to take public transport if possible, and launched a “pollution ticket” which costs €3.60 for a whole day’s travel anywhere in the capital.

They had previously made all public transport free, but this was dropped because of the cost, put at €4 million per day.

Ms Hidalgo has also increased the cost of parking and banned free parking on Saturdays and the August holiday period.

The stickers replace the old system, which saw cars with odd or even-numbered registration plates banned from the roads on alternate days, which wasn’t working

The moves have angered French drivers who say it is unfair on the poor who cannot afford a new car.

Two hundred European towns and cities have already initiated a similar measure, with Berlin enforcing it since 2008.

How to get a Crit’ Air sticker

Non-French motorists can order the Crit’Air sticker – click here  (page available in both English and French) – by sending a copy of the vehicle registration document as an attachment.

It will arrive within five working days and must be displayed inside the vehicle windscreen.

French police will initially be lenient with motorists who don’t have the sticker, but will encourage them to obtain it as soon as possible.

Regardless, all polluting vehicles pre-1997 (whether French or foreign) are now prohibited from entering targeted areas during peak periods – and these vehicles will be fined if they do so.

Fines for polluting vehicles (source: Mairie de Paris) €65 for trucks €68 for any other vehicle type

Links to official websites Use this tool to find out the certificate that corresponds with your vehicle

Click here to visit the government website for further information on Crit’Air

Read more at:





Share this article


Want more motoring news?

Sign up here for our free weekly serving of motoring.

Sign up here for our free weekly serving of motoring.

Latest news