Air pollution improvement: Three French cities can ease car ban rules

One local council said it would not bring in ban regardless of the government’s decision

Stickers are required for both domestic and non-French vehicles driving through low-emission zones
Published Last updated

Three cities in France which have seen their air pollution levels improve in recent years are no longer required to bring in previously-set deadlines for banning certain vehicles.

Marseille, Strasbourg and Rouen are no longer required to ban vehicles with level Crit’Air 3 from January 2025 onwards.

It will now be left to regional authorities to decide if they still wish to implement the restrictions.

Authorities in Marseille said in February that they would not be banning these vehicles in all accounts due to concerns for drivers who could not afford to change their car.

Read more: Marseille delays ban on older cars: see which other cities also have

Authorities in Rouen confirmed this week they would not implement the ban in 2025.

Some residents from the city reacted to the news with anger after exchanging their vehicles for more expensive, less polluting ones in anticipation of the change.

Others in the city are reverting to buying older ‘vintage’ cars, which do not need a sticker and thus can bypass the rules, reports France3.

Read more: Vintage cars to be allowed in low-emission zones in France

In Strasbourg, vehicles of this level are already restricted at certain times, however no fines are being handed out.

The ban is ‘educational’ with those breaking the rules being informed of the changes in the run up to January 2025.

The local council may now decide to revert these rules, however, and allow the cars to drive in the city.

Paris (including suburbs around the city) and Lyon have not seen their pollution levels improve significantly, and are still set to ban vehicles of this level in January 2025.

What are Crit’Air stickers used for?

Twelve cities in France currently have low-emission zones (Zones à faibles émissions or ZFE) in place.

All vehicles driving through these areas must display a valid ‘Crit’Air’ sticker, showing its pollution levels.

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

This includes vehicles from abroad.

Drivers who do not display a sticker on their vehicle, or drive through an area they are restricted from entering due to their vehicle’s pollution levels, risk a €68 fine.

This is doubled for HGVs.

Crit’Air 3 stickers are for petrol vehicles first registered between January 1, 1997 and December 31, 2005, as well as diesel vehicles between January 1, 2006 and December 31, 2010.

The rules for each city with a ZFE in place are different. You can consult our map below to find out more.

Read more: 2024 MAP: Where are low emission zones in France and what are rules?

All areas with a population of 150,000 or higher are set to bring in a ZFE by January 1, 2025, however this rule is unpopular with many local authorities and it remains to be seen if they will be implemented.

Related articles

Watch out for 2024 Crit’Air car sticker scam in France

Cars, licences, driving: what changes in France in 2024?