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Anti-pollution measures launch in several areas of southern France

The speed limit on major roads has been reduced. People are advised to limit time outdoors if in a vulnerable group. The burning of garden waste is also banned in one department

The road restrictions have been announced due to ‘winter particle pollution, worsened by a lack of wind and the use of wood burning stoves Pic: Tricky_Shark / Shutterstock

Three departments in southern France have put speed limit measures in place on roads today (Monday, February 13) in a bid to cut down on fine pollution particles.

Bouches-du-Rhône, Vaucluse and Pyrénées-Atlantiques announced a 20% drop in speed limits on major roads. They report that this is due to vehicle fumes, the use of wood fired heating systems and a lack of wind to disperse pollution.

Pyrénées-Atlantiques has also banned the burning of garden waste.

Air quality agency AtmoSud placed Bouches-du-Rhône and Vaucluse on ‘alert level 1’ for pollution and said this was due to the accumulation of particles and the absence of wind (therefore limited dispersion).

It said that weather conditions would remain similar until tomorrow, causing an “accumulation of pollutants and high levels of fine particles, causing a high risk”.

Authorities advise:

  • Avoid strenuous physical activity or exercise outside

  • Air out, or circulate air, at least 10 minutes per day in enclosed spaces

  • Use car-sharing where possible

  • Use public transport and non-polluting forms of transport where possible

Vulnerable people are especially advised to keep outdoor outings short and to avoid high-traffic zones at peak hours.

Farmers are also asked to delay the spreading of mineral and organic fertilisers.

It comes just three days after the cities of Lyon and Paris imposed similar measures due to ‘winter fine particles’, worsened by road traffic, lack of wind, and wood burning stove use.

Read more: A guide to Crit’Air stickers in France 

Read more: Map: See France’s low emission driving zones - and plans for new ones

These areas also announced lower speed limits, and a ban on HGVs and wood-burning stoves in some affected zones. Many cities across the country also have increasing restrictions in place related to the level of pollution a vehicle emits, based on the Crit’Air rating system. 

Related articles

Car and stove restrictions launch to ease pollution in French cities

Drivers to be given up to €100 to start car sharing in France

Crit’Air: Paris limits access of certain cars as pollution spikes 

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