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”.
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
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.