New Rules for Driving Through “Low Emission Zones” (LEZs) in Popular European Cities

Half of countries researched operate the low emission zone (LEZ) all year-round including Austria, Belgium, Germany and UK (where they are known as ULEZ)

Paris Cars

Fines or penalty charges for driving through low emission zones range from €45 (£38) in Spain to €2,180 (£1,863) in Austria

11 new low emission zones planned for the UK in 2022 including Manchester, Oxford and Bristol

APH, is helping travellers planning a European road trip this Summer avoid unwanted fines or penalty charges by comparing the new rules for driving in Low Emission Zones across eight of the most popular European cities. More than 200 cities across 15 countries now operate low emission zones (LEZ)*, restricting vehicles with higher emissions from entering unless a fee is paid, or the vehicle is pre-registered with the necessary authority.


Austria

Regions:

  • Außerfern, Burgenland, Linz, Lower Austria, Upper Austria, Styria, Tyrol, Vienna
  • New zones are currently being introduced 

Environmental sticker/badge:

  • Pickerl
  • 6 types of stickers distinguished by colour black, red, yellow, green, blue, violet 

Required to purchase sticker/badge:

  • Badge is currently mandatory only for N-category vehicles, including Vans (N1), trucks (N2), heavy trucks (N3) 

Exempt from sticker/badge:

  • Passenger cars (M1), buses (M2, M3), motorcycles (L)
  • Electric cars are exempt from this and must have an ‘E’ on number plate
  • Vintage vehicles, with license plates marked with the letter “V” and a vintage vehicle certificate. 

Hours of operation:

  • Permanent – 24 hours a day 

Validity of sticker:

  • Valid for lifetime of vehicle 

Cost:

  • €20/£17 including taxes and mailing costs 

Application process length:

  • Delivery within 5 -14 days 

Fine:

  • From €90/£76 – €2,180/£1,863 

Paperwork required:

  • A copy of the vehicle registration documents.
  • The CEMT document or other document or datasheet that states the emission class of the vehicle.
  • Company name
  • Billing address
  • VAT-number 


Belgium

Regions:

  • Antwerp
  • Brussels
  • Ghent
  • Wallonia Region

Environmental sticker/badge:

  • Low Emission Zone
  • No sticker required – each vehicle requires a valid registration and purchase of a LEZ Day Pass or to pay admission fee if not eligible for Day Pass

Required to purchase sticker/badge:

Brussels

  • Vehicles affected: Cars, campers (M1), bus (M2, M3), vans (N1), trucks
  • Minimum standard required (from 1st January 2022):
  • petrol: Euro 2
  • diesel: Euro 5

Antwerp Admission Fee

  • Diesel vehicles with Euro 4 standard

Antwerp LEZ Day Pass

  • Diesel vehicles with Euro 3 standard and less
  • Petrol vehicles with Euro 1 standard and less

Ghent LEZ Day Pass:

  • Diesel vehicles with Euro 4

Ghent Temporary Permit

  • 3 standard or less

Exempt from sticker/badge:

  • Motorised two-wheelers
  • Lorries > 3.5t delivering goods
  • Agricultural and forestry tractors
  • Electric vehicles
  • Hydrogen-powered vehicles
  • Priority vehicles (namely vehicles with one or more blue flashing lights and a specific alarm signal. Police vehicles, for example.)
  • Emergency vehicles (police, army, civil protection or road authorities)
  • Army vehicles
  • Historic vehicles registered in Belgium

Hours of operation:

  •  Permanent – 24 hours a day 

Validity of sticker:

Registration

  • Brussels: 3 years provided vehicle information doesn’t change
  • Antwerp: 3 years
  • Ghent: N/A

LEZ Day Pass

  • For one full day until 6am next morning

Antwerp:

  • Depends on chosen period – day, week, month or year

Ghent Temporary Permit:

  • Depends on chosen period – day, week, month or year

Cost:

  • Registration for all cities: free

Antwerp Admission Fee

(for diesel vehicles with Euro 4 standard)

Reduced rate: €20/£17 – €180/£154 (dependant on time period)

Regular rate: €30/£25 – €365/£312 (dependant on time period)

Increased rate: €30/£25 – €440/£376 (dependant on time period)

Ghent (regular tariff for Temporary Permit)

Week: €25/£21

Month: €50/£43

4 Months: €130/£111

Year: €365/£312

LEZ Day Pass

LEZ Day Pass for €35/£30 can be bought, up to 8 times a year by diesel vehicles with Euro 3 standard and less, petrol vehicles with Euro 1 standard and less

Application process length:

Antwerp

Can be purchased up to 4 months in advance but allow up to 10 days

Ghent

Can be purchased up to 4 months in advance but allow up to 14 days

Fine:

Antwerp (since 1 February 2018)

For the first time: €150/£128

The second time: €250/£213

Further offences within 12 months: €350/£299

Brussels

€150/£128

€25/£21 fine for admission error on form

Ghent

€150/£128

Paperwork required:

Antwerp

Registration certificate

Brussels

Licence plate number

Date of first registration

Ghent

Registration document

European Certificate of Conformity

Bank card (If you make an appointment bring your supporting documents and a bank card with you. Cash payments result in additional waiting time. Cheques are not accepted.) 


France

Regions:

  • Paris and major French cities including
  • Aix-Marseille-Provence
  • Greater Grenoble
  • Greater Lyon
  • Greater Nancy
  • Greater Paris
  • Greater Saint-Etienne
  • Lille
  • Lyon
  • Montpellier Mediterranee Metropole
  • Nice
  • Paris
  • Reims
  • Rouen
  • Strasbourg
  • Toulouse

Environmental sticker/badge:

  • Crit’Air vignettes
  • Six types of stickers distinguished by colour including:
  • Green – Crit’Air E (zero emissions – electric and hydrogen vehicles)
  • Purple – Crit’Air 1 (gas and rechargeable hybrid vehicles)
  • Yellow – Crit’Air 2 (Euro 5 and Euro 6 vehicles)
  • Orange – Crit’Air 3 (Euro 4 vehicles)
  • Burgundy – Crit’Air 4 (Euro 3 vehicles)
  • Dark Grey – Crit’Air 5 (Euro 2 vehicles)
  • All polluting vehicles pre-2017 are prohibited from entering targeted areas during peak hours

Required to purchase sticker/badge:

  • Applies to all foreign passenger cars and trucks
  • When d riving in Permanent low-emission zones (known as ZCR – Zone à Circulation Restreinte) and Temporary emergency low-emissions zones (known as ZPA – Zone de la Protection de l’Air)

Exempt from sticker/badge:

  • Mandatory, even for vehicles and purposes that are exempt from the restrictions applicable in restricted traffic zones or introduced on a temporary basis.

Hours of operation:

  • Monday – Friday from 8am – 8pm

Validity of sticker:

  • Lifetime validity – as long as its eligible

Cost:

  • €3.11/£2.65 + €1.40/£1.20 postage outside France (i.e. €4.51/£3.85 per vehicle) –

Application process length:

  • 10 days – Up to six weeks

Fine:

  • €68/£58 for light vehicles and increased to €180/£154 if not paid within 45 days
  • €135/£115 for heavy goods vehicles and increased to €375/£320 if not paid within 45 days

Paperwork required:

  • Legible photo or scan of your vehicle’s registration certificate.


Germany

Regions:

  • National including cities such as Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt, Cologne, Hannover, Bonn, Karlsruhe, Leipzig
  • Some cities also have a zonal driving ban requiring require a minimum standard of diesel Euro 6 to enter

Environmental sticker/badge:

  • Umweltplakette
  • Four colour-coded emission categories:
  • green sticker (harmful emission group 4)
  • yellow (harmful emission group 3)
  • red stickers (harmful emission group 2)

Required to purchase sticker/badge:

  • Applies to all passenger motor vehicles and commercial vehicles irrespective of propulsion (with combustion engines – petrol, diesel or gas – and with electric motors)
  • Ban on diesel cars in several German cities including Berlin, Darmstadt, Hamburg and Stuttgart since 20-19

Exempt from sticker/badge:

  • Mobile machines and devices
  • 2- and 3-wheel vehicles (e.g. mopeds, motorbikes, scooters)
  • Agricultural and forestry traction machines (such as tractors)
  • Vehicles driven by persons or transporting persons that are severely handicapped, helpless or blind (evidenced by aG, H or BI entered in the severely handicapped ID)
  • Veteran cars with 07 registration plates, as well as foreign vehicles that fulfil the comparable requirements (generally this is any vehicle over 30 years old)

Hours of operation:

  • Permanent, 24 hours a day

Validity of sticker:

  • Valid foras long as the number plate or the emission standard remain unchanged

Cost:

  • €6/£5

Application process length:

  • Home-delivery within 7 – 14 days

Fine:

  • €80/£68 plus administrative fee which varies from city to city

Paperwork required:

  • Part 1 of your vehicle registration certification


Italy

Regions:

  • Centre of Milan (combined Congestion Charge and Low Emission Zone)
  • Many city centres across Italy operate traffic restriction zones – Zone a Traffico Limitato (ZTL)

Environmental sticker/badge:

Milan

Eco-Pass for Centre of Milan

Rome

All vehicles except electric

Some city centres

Vignette for some city centres

Required to purchase sticker/badge:

Milan

Petrol: Euro 3

Diesel: Euro 6

Palermo

All vehicles except motorbikes, electric vehicles

Exempt from sticker/badge:

Mopeds/motorcycles, electric vehicles, hybrids

Exempt from the rules in some municipalities if you are transporting pasta or flour

Hours of operation:

Milan

Weekdays between 7:30am – 7:30pm

Palermo

8am – 8pm

Bologna

7am – 8pm

Validity of sticker:

Milan

24 hours

Cost:

Milan

€5/£4 paid in advance or €15/£13 if paid within seven days

Application process length:

N/A

Fine:

Milan

€70/£60 – €450/£385

Rome

€70/£60, plus an additional €70/£60 if there was no valid annual emissions test sticker

Palermo

A vehicle of Euro 0, 1, 2 that enters the ZTL without a permit will have to pay €164/140.
Vehicles Euro 3 and above entering the ZTL without a proper permit will have to pay €81/69.

Paperwork required:

N/A


Portugal

Regions:

Lisbon

Environmental sticker/badge:

No sticker required – drivers must follow rules

Zona de Emissoes Reduzidas (ZER) in place divided into Zone 1 and Zone 2

Zone 1: Axis Av. Liberdade/Baixa.
Zone 2: limited to the south of Avenida de Ceuta, North-South axis, Avenida das Forças Armadas, Avenida EUA, Avenida Marechal António Spínola, Avenida Infante Dom Henrique

Required to purchase sticker/badge:

All vehicles not meeting the Euro 3 standard in Zone 1 or not meeting the Euro 2 standard in Zone 2

Vehicles over 7.5 tonnes

Exempt from sticker/badge:

N/a

Hours of operation:

Working days from 07:00 – 21.00

Validity of sticker:

n/a

Cost:

n/a

Application process length:

N/A

Fine:

£120

Paperwork required:

N/A


Spain

Regions:

Madrid

Barcelona 

Sant Cugat (in Barcelona)

Seville

Valladolid

Valencia

Environmental sticker/badge:

Madrid

Low Emission Zone called Zona de Bajas Emisiones(ZBE)

4 environmental badges (0 Emissions, Eco, C and B)

Barcelona

Low Emission Zone called Barcelona Zona de Bajas Emisiones (ZBE) – DGT (Distintivo Ambiental) is required

Cities with more than 50,000 inhabitants must introduce a low emission zone before 2023

Required to purchase sticker/badge:

Madrid

Cars

Barcelona

Foreign vehicles must register for DGT environmental badge

Exempt from sticker/badge:

Madrid

Foreign registered vehicles are not obliged to exhibit the badge

Transport of disabled
– trucks, vans, motorcycles, mopeds

Historic 

vehicles

Emergency vehicles

Classified as A vehicles (usually gasoline registered before the year 2000 and diesel vehicles before 2006)

Barcelona

People with reduced mobility

Service vehicles (ambulances, police, firefighters, hearses, military)

Hours of operation:

Madrid

N/A

Barcelona

From Monday to Friday between 7:00 am and 8:00 pm

Validity of sticker:

Madrid

N/A

Barcelona

Two years

Cost:

Madrid

N/A

Barcelona:

€7/£6 one-off registration fee if vehicle complies for DGT

€5/£4 – €6/£5 per day dependant on vehicle

Application process length:

Madrid

N/A

Barcelona

15 business days after submission

Fine:

Madrid

€45/£38 if paid right away

€90/£77 if paid later

Barcelona

Between €200/£171 and €1800/£1540

Paperwork required:

N/A


Switzerland

Regions:

City of Geneva and the surrounding towns of Carouge, Cologny, Lancy and Vernier.

Environmental sticker/badge:

Stick’AIR stickers, or vignettes

Six difference emissions-based categories:

  1. Green
  2. Purple
  3. Yellow
  4. Orange
  5. Burgundy
  6. Grey

Required to purchase sticker/badge:

All motor vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes in weight are required to have a vignette all year round on all motorways and national roads of class 1 and 2

Exempt from sticker/badge:

Cars with the French Crit’AIR sticker

Disabled drivers and vehicles displaying blue badges 

Hours of operation:

Monday to Sunday between 6am and 10pm.

Validity of sticker:

n/a

Cost:

5 Swiss Francs/£4

Application process length:

n/a

Fine:

€455/£389

Paperwork required:

N/A


UK

Regions:

  • Aberdeen
  • Bath
  • Birmingham
  • Bradford
  • Brighton
  • Bristol
  • Dundee
  • Edinburgh
  • Glasgow
  • Greater Manchester
  • Leeds
  • Leicester
  • London
  • Newcastle
  • Norwich
  • Nottingham
  • Oxford
  • Portsmouth
  • Sheffield
  • York

Environmental sticker/badge:

London

Low Emission Zone

Ultra Low Emission Zone

Congestion Charge

All cities

No sticker required – drivers must follow rules

Required to purchase sticker/badge:

ULEZ in London

Motorbikes, mopeds, motorised tricycles and quadricycles not meeting the minimum standard Euro 3

Euro 4 for petrol cars, vans, minibuses and other specialist not meeting the minimum standard Euro 4

diesel cars, vans and minibuses and other specialist vehicles not meeting the minimum standard Euro 6

lorries, buses and coaches and other specialist heavy vehicles not meeting the minimum standard Euro VI

Exempt from sticker/badge:

ULEZ in London

Residents

Cleaner Vehicle Discount

Vehicles for disabled people

Taxis

Private Hire Vehicles

Historic vehicles built more than 40 years ago

Agricultural vehicles

Military vehicles

Non-road going vehicles which are allowed to drive on the highway (for example, excavators)

Certain types of mobile cranes

Hours of operation:

ULEZ in London

24 hours per day

Validity of sticker:

ULEZ in London

24 hours

Cost:

ULEZ in London

£12.50 daily fee

Application process length:

ULEZ in London

Immediate 

Fine:

ULEZ in London

£60 – £1000 dependant on vehicle

£80 – £500 if paid within 14 days and dependant on vehicle 

Paperwork required:

Must register with Transport for London to pay daily fee


Notes to Editors:

https://www.confused.com/car-insurance/guides/low-emission-zones (February 2022)

Exchange rate taken on 17 June 2020

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