Many UK cities are set to implement clean air zones and congestion charge areas with the aim of reducing the environmental impact; improving air quality in cities and ultimately help to slow the effects of global warming.
ULEZ (ultra-low emissions zone), LEZ (low emissions zone) and CAZ (clean air zone) are all zones or areas in which vehicles have pay to access and be able to drive through. How much you pay depends on your vehicle and its green “credentials”.
France is no stranger to this method of air pollution management. France recently created their Crit’Air system. There are no exemptions for visiting cars or tourists, even if you are just ‘passing through’!
What is Crit’Air
Crit’Air is France’s “Clean Air” plan, equivalent to the UK’s ULEZ, LEZ and CAZ system. The plan covers all road vehicles including motorcycles, quad bikes, private cars, vans, trucks, coaches and buses.
There two zones in the system:
Permanent Low Emission Zone – ZCR (Zone à Circulation Restreinte)
Where vehicles permanently display Crit’Air vignettes and some vehicles are completely prohibited from driving within the zone.
Temporary emergency low-emissions zones ZPA (Zone de la Protection de l’Air)
Where traffic is only restricted by public announcement at time of high air pollution and vehicles must display a valid vignette at those times.
How to apply for Crit’Air before travelling to France
The best way to apply for a Crit’Air vignette is through the official Crit’Air Website . Note there are other websites offering this service, but be aware prices can go as steep as €30!
Vignettes costs go from €3.11 to €4.51 depending on the vehicle and this includes postage.
What to do once I received my vignette
Once you receive your Crit’Air vignette it must be placed on the right-hand side of your windscreen and be clearly visible at all times.
What Crit’Air category is my vehicle
There are six vehicle categories that go from the very cleanest “Crit’Air 0” – such as electric or hydrogen powered vehicles, to the dirtiest, “Crit’Air 5”, which include some petrol and diesel vehicles. The category will also depend on your vehicle’s engine, whether is Euro 6 or lower.
Image source: Wikipedia