Driving in many of France’s biggest towns and cities is set to change as they prepare to become low emission zones over the next two years in an attempt to tackle air pollution.
In France, a ZFE-m (zone à faibles émissions mobilité) refers to a low vehicle emission driving zone.
In these areas, certain high-polluting vehicles are subject to restrictions such as only being allowed to travel at certain times of the day.
There are currently 11 of these zones across France, and by 2025, a further 32 towns in France with over 150,000 inhabitants will be added to the list.
Areas that already have a low emission zone in place are Grand Paris, Lyon, Aix-Marseille, Toulouse, Nice, Montpellier, Strasbourg, Grenoble, Rouen, Reims and Saint-Étienne.
The move is part of a series of decisions made by the French government to combat air pollution in urban areas.
In addition to the new zones, the government will aim to reduce air pollution in port areas by working with local communities on a voluntary basis as well as offering aid to those who need it to help purchase more environmentally- friendly vehicles.
Which vehicles are impacted by the low emission zones?
Vehicles impacted are those deemed the most polluting by Crit’Air, a sticker system which shows how much pollution a vehicle causes.
All drivers using their vehicles in a low emission zone will be required to have a Crit’Air sticker on their vehicle, to indicate the level of pollution the car causes. The scale is from 0 - 5, with 5 being for the most polluting vehicles.
Read more: A guide to Crit’Air stickers in France
Read more: How to avoid driving in French low-emissions zones
Residents and visitors (including foreign-plated cars) can get their Crit'air sticker directly from the Crit'air website, where you can also find out where on the scale your vehicle falls.
A Crit’Air sticker costs €3.11, with the cost of postage varying depending on delivery location.
For vehicles registered in France, you will need information from your registration certificate (formerly carte grise), and for vehicles registered outside of France you will need to upload a photo or scan of your vehicle registration.
Note that the site is currently experiencing a high number of orders and it can take up to six weeks to receive your sticker.
It is up to the local authorities to determine the rules within their own ZFE-m areas, but if you take to the road in a non-authorised vehicle, you could face a fine of up to €135.
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