The anti-pollution sticker (Crit’Air in french) aims to limit pollution in large cities. It classifies the vehicles in 6 colors and levels according to their age and their motorization. Private vehicles are not the only ones concerned.
Indeed, utilities, two wheels, buses and trucks must also apply this obligation under penalties.
The operation of traffic zones in France, ZCR and ZPA
The Crit’Air sticker introduces a restriction of traffic in some areas, according to the pollution level of the vehicle.
In order to reduce the impact of road transport on air pollution, two environmental zones have been set up:
- Areas in which traffic is permanently restricted (ZCR)
- Areas where restrictions are temporary, Air Protection Zones (APAs).
They are activated only in the event of a peak of atmospheric pollution and this, over a few days only.
Restricted traffic zones (ZCR) are generally set up in city centers to prevent the most polluting vehicles from entering it. Therefore, to be allowed to enter, it is necessary to have a sticker Crit’Air (corresponding to the required level) affixed to its windshield.
The 6 main French cities concerned are Grenoble and its metropolis, Lille and its metropolis, Lyon and Villeurbanne, Paris, Strasbourg and its metropolis, and Toulouse.
Concerning the air protection zones (ZPA), they are activated in the case of exceptional weather conditions of the heat wave type and therefore of high pollution. The restriction is set by prefectural order according to article R411-19 of the Highway Code and is usually announced the day before for the next day. Vehicles that are associated with certain categories of vignettes, considered too polluting, are excluded.
Heat wave and traffic restrictions in France
The heat wave causes an increase of pollution in the air and leads to traffic restrictions. With the heat and road traffic of holidaymakers, ozone pollution has been declared in many French regions and measures such as speed reduction and differentiated traffic have been announced.
Thus, the circulation of certain vehicles such as those containing a Crit’Air sticker 4 and 5, or those not holding a sticker, is prohibited in the cities and areas concerned.
Remember to inquire about French cities and make sure you are in good standing with the legislation in force and avoid penalties.