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Winter tyres, Crit'Air stickers, book charge: ten updates in France

We cover some key announcements you may have missed over the last month

Other changes include the announcement of an electric vehicle leasing scheme, a new way to report animal abuse anonymously, and France’s winter truce for renters Pic: Credit: Ivanova N / fizkes / Hadrian / LeManna / Shutterstock

1: Winter tyres on cars

France’s Loi Montagne comes into force on November 1, meaning drivers across 48 areas of France must have winter or all-season snow tyres fitted on their vehicles. 

Alternatively, they need to have snow chains or auto ‘socks’ in their boots.

The law aims to improve safety on mountainous roads and covers the Alps, Corsica, the Massif Central, Jura, Pyrenees and Vosges mountain ranges. 

You can find a map of all the places the rules apply here.

It affects cars, vans, commercial vehicles, 4x4s, buses and HGVs, and road signs indicate where zones covered by the law begin and end. 

Vehicles, including those registered abroad, must have one of these in place, even if there is no snow on the roads at the time they are driving. 

The rules are in place until March 31, 2024.

Read more: Are all-season tyres allowed during winter in France?

Read more: Should French car hire firms provide winter tyres or chains?

2: Rental truce

November 1 is also the start of the annual trêve hivernale (winter truce) that prohibits landlords evicting tenants, including those with rent arrears, until March 31, 2024

It also prevents electricity, gas and water supplies being cut off during this period. 

It does not extend to squatters or anyone evicted from a marital home by a court order. 

During the trêve hivernale, a landlord can still begin eviction proceedings by taking the case to a specialist tribunal judge, but action will be delayed until the truce ends.

Read also: I have a second home in France, what should I do if squatters get in?

3: Electric Vehicle leasing

Further details of a new leasing scheme for electric vehicles (EVs) are expected to be revealed this month. 

It offers households earning less than €14,089 per year the chance to lease an EV at a flat rate of €100 per month. 

Around 100,000 people could benefit, although President Macron said the number of vehicles will be limited in 2024 while the scheme gets up and running. 

The contract could last for up to five years, and be subject to annual limits of up to 15,000 km.

EVs set to be included are the Citroën Ami, Dacia Spring, Fiat 500 electric, Renault Twingo E-Tech and MG4. 

The Energy Transition Ministry has suggested the lease contract might not cover insurance, maintenance or battery-charging costs. 

Read more: Why electric vehicle insurance premiums are set to rise in France

4: Animal abuse reports

Anyone witnessing animal abuse can now report it anonymously to the gendarmerie or police, thanks to an online form. 

You can find the document to report the abuse online here

You will be asked to provide:

  • the date and location of the incident
  • a description of the animal and its condition
  • whether the person concerned is a private individual or a professional 
  • a precise description of the act(s) of mistreatment

Perpetrators face fines of between €750 and €75,000, and jail terms of three to five years. 

Read more: Record animal abandonment in France sparks shock campaign

5: Immigration law

Senators will begin examining new proposed immigration legislation from November 6. 

The bill contains several important changes, including a requirement for people seeking multi-year residency permits to have gained a minimum level of French. 

More controversially, it aims to ease the labour shortage in some sectors by facilitating the legislative process for undocumented employees.

The bill is expected to reach MPs in the National Assembly by December 11. 

6: Pension scheme change

People who receive a private pension under the Agirc-Arrco scheme will benefit from a 4.9% increase from November 1 in line with inflation. 

In addition, a penalty that withdraws 10% of a pension for three years from anyone who retired at the statutory retirement age, rather than working an extra year, will be eliminated from December 1.  

Every employee in the private sector must pay into this supplementary scheme. 

Agirc-Arrco converts contributions into points. Upon retirement, they are converted to pension payments.  

Future rises, currently agreed at 0.4% below the annual level of inflation between 2024 and 2026, might also change. 

7: Deals to tackle fuel costs 

Service station manager and petrol provider TotalEnergies announced its €1.99 per litre fuel cap would remain in place until at least the end of 2024

A number of supermarkets have also announced various offers to sell fuel at cost price, either at certain weekends or permanently until the end of the year.

However, there are warnings of a potential diesel shortage this winter, which could hike prices of the fuel up.

8: Reinforced anti-bullying scheme

The free and anonymous 3018 number, operated since 2005 by cyberbullying support service e-Enfance, is now the only number for reporting cases of bullying at school.

The government has announced that social networks will now refer children who are being bullied to this number and app.  

Read more: IN IMAGES: How France plans to tackle school bullying

9: Crit’Air ban delayed

Officials have voted to suspend a ban on vehicles classed as Crit’Air 3 (pre-2006 petrol and pre-2011 diesel ones) entering a zones à faibles émissions (ZFE or low-emission zone)) in Toulouse in 2024. 

The decision affects around 47,000 vehicle owners. The ZFE covers 75% of the city within the périphérique (ring road). 

Pollution levels will be monitored to determine if the ban on Crit’Air 3 vehicles will be enforced in the future.

Most cities with a ZFE in place have made changes to the rollout of further restrictions. 

Read more: Which French towns are delaying obligatory air pollution stickers?

10: Online book charge

Independent booksellers hope a new obligatory €3 charge on online orders will encourage more customers to come into their local physical stores. 

The surcharge came into force on October 7 and applies to all online orders of new books under €35 that are delivered to people’s homes in France. 

It will not apply to ‘big’ items such as art or cookery books. Orders over €35 will continue to pay a symbolic €0.01. 

Read more: Ordering a book online in France is now more expensive - here is why

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