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

‘Not everyone can afford to buy a new vehicle’ said city’s president

Drivers of ‘Crit’Air level 3’ vehicles in Marseille no longer face the impending restrictions
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Further restrictions set to be implemented in Marseille’s low-emission driving zone have been postponed indefinitely.

It means the city joins a growing list of others, including the capital, that were due to tighten restrictions for ‘Crit’Air 3’ vehicles between now and 2026 but which have now deferred them.

Changes set to come into force on January 1, 2025 would have seen vehicles at this level banned from driving within Marseille’s zone à faibles émissions (low-emission zone, or ZFE).

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.

President of the Marseille-Aix-en-Provence area Martine Vassal said local authorities “need to be more tolerant” with drivers.

“Not everyone has the opportunity to equip themselves with an electric vehicle in such a short space of time,” she added in an interview with La Tribune Dimanche.

Marseille was one of the few cities still set to go ahead with the original roadmap of low-emission restrictions.

All cities with a ZFE in place have now diverted from their original schedules however, either by pushing back future changes or by delaying restrictions which were set to be implemented prior to 2024.

In theory, all areas with a population of 150,000 or more are set to introduce a ZFE by no later than January 1, 2025, however this seems increasingly unlikely, with only 12 currently in place so far.

Reminder: Crit’Air rules

As a reminder, all drivers going through a ZFE, including foreign-registered vehicles, need a Crit’Air sticker (motorbikes included).

Crit’Air stickers show the level of emissions produced by the vehicle, ranging from level 5 (the highest, and now banned from driving in some areas) to 0 (electric, hydrogen, and other extremely low emission vehicles).

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

The map below shows all current ZFEs alongside the other cities where they are slated to be introduced.

The exact restrictions change depending on the zone in question, city-specific rules can be viewed online through local prefecture websites.

At the beginning of 2024, Lyon, Grenoble, and Strasbourg increased restriction on Crit’Air level 4 vehicles.

Read more: Where in France must drivers now show a car pollution-level sticker?

More than 300,000 vehicles in city would have been affected

Currently, Crit’Air level 3 vehicles are not banned from driving in any cities, as Toulouse and Paris both pushed back changes set to take place in January 2024.

Lyon was originally meant to ban them by 2025, alongside Marseille, but has announced it would not be restricting them until at least 2028.

In some of the other cities with ZFEs already in place, Crit’Air 3 cars are now not scheduled to be banned until 2029, including in Reims.

Ms Vassal acknowledged that the impact from the changes would have affected many drivers with a study estimating than 317,000 vehicles would have been impacted.

Politicians in many cities claim restricting Crit’Air 3 vehicles would impact many workers who commute, but cannot afford to buy a new electric car to replace their old one despite the bonuses available for both renting and buying electric vehicles.

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