Toulouse bought in its ban on older cars at the start of the year, with only cars with a Crit’Air sticker of three or higher allowed into a large part of the city and its surrounds – but at the last moment said older cars could also enter under special provisions.
Just before the ban was introduced the city said that it will allow ‘derogations’ for older cars with Crit’Air stickers of four or five, or for collectors cars without stickers, for 52 days in a year.
But in order to benefit from the derogation, the drivers must download a free attestation similar to the passes which were needed to move around during the Covid lockdowns.
Drivers can be eligible regardless of where they live.
To benefit, they must first register on the Toulouse Métropole website the day before the visit to the city and enter their number plate. They also need to upload a scan or photo of the vehicle registration document.
Drivers then print the attestation out and place it in a visible position on their dashboards. If they want to add days later (within the 52-day limit) they can simply log in, change dates, and print a new attestation, without having to scan documents again.
The government has said it wants all ZFEs (zones à faible émissions) to be policed by number plate radars by 2025.
“The principle is that when drivers with cars with Crit’Air stickers of four or five are stopped by police, they can show the attestation,” a spokeswoman Toulouse Métropole told The Connexion.
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Concerns raised by motoring organisations
The move came after concerns were raised by a number of motoring organisations, including Motards en colère (angry bikers) and the long established Automobile Club du Midi.
The ZFE, which has been in force for delivery vehicles, covers all the area within the Toulouse ring road, and a large part of the area to the west of the ring road for all vehicles with number plates.
Petrol cars which were first registered before 1997 or which have a Crit’Air sticker of four or five are banned from the zone.
For more modern petrol cars, registered between 1997 and 2005, and which have a Crit’Air sticker of three, will be banned at the start of January 2024.
Diesel cars registered before 2006 and with stickers of four or five are also banned, and those registered between 2006 and 2010 with a Crit’Air sticker of three will be banned from January 2024.
Motorbikes and scooters registered for the first time before 2004 or with Crit’Air stickers of four or five are also now banned and those registered between 2006 and 2010 or with Crit’Air stickers of three will be in January next year.
ZFE’s are already being bought in at various timetables in the Paris area, Grenoble, Lyon, Rouen, Reims, Nice, Toulouse, Saint-Etienne Aix and Marseille, Toulon, Montpellier and Strasbourg.
By the end of 2024 the government will require ZFEs in all the 43 urban métropoles with populations of more than 150,000 people, with local governments responsible for seeing an improvement in air quality.
Read also: Why you need to remain vigilant about Crit’Air fine texts in France
Warnings of unrest
Warnings that the measure might provoke unrest have been sent to the government by local officials but, so far, have not been acted on.
An example is the Intercommunalities de France, which said, using the latest available figures from 2019, that more than a third (38%) of households with low incomes owned cars with Crit’Air stickers of five or four.
The government has said the measure is necessary because it has been condemned for poor air quality a number of times by French and European courts.
Strasbourg and its surrounding communes have had a ban on Crit’Air 5 cars since January 2022 but only started to fine drivers in January.
Fines for cars are set by the national government at €65.
Strasbourg has already set up its own web-based platform for drivers of vehicles which would otherwise be banned, to ask for a “pass ZFE” valid for 24 hours, which can be renewed 24 times in a year.
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