Eurométropole de Strasbourg’s Low Emissions Zone
- Air quality: a public health concern
- What is an LEZ?
- Project milestones
- Improving your journey
- My car
- For professionals
- FAQ - Find out more
Air quality: a public health concern
Like all large urban areas, the Eurométropole of Strasbourg faces the problem of air pollution which carries a risk for the health of its residents. Many studies show that populations living in areas where the air is polluted develop heart and lung or brain disease and cancer. In average, 500 premature deaths in the Eurométropole per year are believed to be due to poor air quality (Source: European Heart Journal, European Society of Cardiology, March 2019, France figures correlated to the Eurométropole population).
Despite a tendency in an improvement of air quality over the last few years, nitrogen dioxide limit values continue to be excessive in areas close to road traffic.
Road traffic: high impact on local pollution
Road traffic is responsible for the deterioration in air quality. Thus, proximity to main roads are believed to cause:
- 15 to 30% of new cases of asthma in children
- certain chronic respiratory and cardiovascular diseases in adults aged 65 and over
- 30% increase in new cases of myeloblastic leukaemia in children
Air pollution especially affects the most fragile populations living near main roads. These areas along main roads are exposed to severe pollution, even though they emit few pollutants.
In light of these observations, the Eurométropole of Strasbourg intends to answer this public health concern, in all fairness with respect to territories and social justice. Setting up a Low Emission Zone (LEZ), as imposed by law, will reduce air pollution.
Poor air quality also affects the environment and incurs high costs for society
In addition to affecting our health, road traffic also affects the climate. Over the territory of the Eurométropole of Strasbourg, its contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions reaches 34%, making it the highest emission sector within the territory.
Also, poor air quality also means considerable socioeconomic costs. Health expenditure costs related to air pollution for a town the size of Strasbourg are estimated at 268 million Euros, or €955 per inhabitant (according to a study by the European Public Health Alliance).
Map of nitrogen dioxide concentrations caused by road traffic
Source: ATMO Grand Est - Invent’Air A2018 V2020 - figures for Eurométropole of Strasbourg, APHEKOM study, Santé Publique France (formerly InVS), European Heart Journal, European Society of Cardiology, March 2019, France figures correlated to the Eurométropole population, European Public Health Alliance
Did you know?
Motorists are more exposed to air pollution inside their vehicle than pedestrians and cyclists. Indeed, the car does not protect against outdoor air pollution, and the low volume of air inside the car leads to concentration of pollutants.
What is an LEZ?
A Low Emission Zone (LEZ) for better breathing
What is a Low Emission Zone?
A LEZ aims to protect populations living in the most densely populated areas, and therefore the most polluted areas, from the risks of poor air quality on their health.
The aim of an LEZ is to reduce the circulation of the highest polluting vehicles within a defined perimeter. To circulate within the area, the Crit’Air sticker must be placed on the windscreen.
It differentiates vehicles according to their level of air pollutant emissions. The highest polluting and "non-classified" vehicles cannot drive inside the LEZ (unless they have an exemption).
The idea is therefore to encourage alternative means of transport and to use the cleanest vehicles.
In September 2019, Eurométropole de Strasbourg Council adopted a decision setting the goals of the Low Emissions Zone (LEZ). With this vote the councillors decided that the zone would include the whole Eurométropole area, that it would apply to all vehicles on the roads, but that the city centre and the suburbs would follow different calendars.
What the law stipulates
The French State has been sued by the European Court of Justice for its poor results in terms of air quality. It was threatened with having to pay a big fine if it does not take the necessary measures to improve it.
The Law on Mobility (LOM), adopted in 2019, compels the Eurométropole to set up a Low Emission Zone as it does for 11 other French cities. This system, already in place in 200 cities in Europe, should be made compulsory by the Climate Law in intercommunalities of more than 150,000 inhabitants by 2024.
This reinforcement of the regulatory framework overlaps with the ambition of the Eurométropole’s policy to ensure clean, better quality air for its residents and visitors, in order to reduce mortality and health problems related to air pollution.
A single calendar for the Eurométropole
Today, the Eurométropole’s new executive committee recommends that the LEZ follow a single calendar across the entire metropolitan area in order to provide a more efficient and coherent system that will be clearer for all residents to follow (pursuant to current legislation and subject to amendment of the climate and resilience bill currently under discussion). Implementation of the LEZ will be gradual, with educational checks and adapted to the health, social and economic situation of the Eurométropole region.
For greater flexibility, restrictions on vehicles on the road, in accordance with their Crit’Air window stickers displayed, will be introduced on a gradual basis with an educational phase preceding the permanent ban of vehicles on the road.
- 2022 for vehicles with Crit’Air 5 or illegible for Crit’Air certification
- 2023 for Crit’Air 4 vehicles
- 2024 for Crit’Air 3 vehicles
- 2025 for Crit’Air 2 vehicles
- 2023 for vehicles with Crit'Air 5 or illegible for Crit'Air certification
- 2024 for Crit’Air 4 vehicles
- 2025 for Crit’Air 3 vehicles
- 2028* for Crit’Air 2 vehicles
*subject to the conclusions of evaluations which will be realized in 2024 and 2026.
For example, for Crit’Air 5 vehicles, the LEZ comes into force in 2022 and they will be permanently banned from the roads in 2023 – with 2022 earmarked for targeted communications, household support and managing the change. Educational checks will be carried out during the preparation phase.
This calendar meets several objectives: time to implement a clear and coherent system for all Eurométropole residents, time for everyone to adapt their transport practices so nobody is left out, and the conditions in place to meet the expected results in terms of air quality and public health.
To assist everyone through this transition, support given will include signposting to alternative forms of transport and massive financial aid. Exemptions will be granted under certain circumstances. Each formal permanent ban introduced, accompanied by inspections and fines, will be preceded by a phase of increased support, adapting to the changing situation, for residents and businesses. To help everyone adjust their transport practices, the Eurométropole working in concert with the municipalities will put in place personalised transport advice, support for claiming aid, information campaigns and educational checks (distribution of flyers, signposting to support services).
Annual assessments will also be implemented to check the system is working effectively.
Between 2023 and 2024, a more in-depth assessment on the impacts of these measures on air quality, health, changes to the vehicle fleet and travel practices will be organised and a new citizen consultation rolled out. This is to ensure that the calendar is compatible with meeting the air quality and public health targets set for the region.
Improving your journey
How can I improve my journey?
Solutions are available for getting around the Eurométropole of Strasbourg without using your own car. The Eurométropole of Strasbourg wishes to offer a solution to all citizens by reinforcing the alternative transport offer: public transport, bicycles, car-sharing, carpooling among others.
Mobility solutions in the Eurométropole
There is a wide range of alternative solutions to cars in the Eurométropole.
These services have been significantly reinforced from 2021:
- The Compagnie des Transports Strasbourgeois (CTS) network will be free for the under 18’s from 1 September 2021 (link a vailable in French only)
- On demand transport Flex'hop was extended this year to 22 towns within the Eurométropole (link available in French only)
- A 100 million Euro budget has been allocated through to 2026 to extend the cycle paths – especially Vélostras – and to provide better connections between them
- Vélhop offers a wide range of bicycles and meets all your cycling needs
- Subsidies for the purchase of an electric bicycle (link available in French only)
- A network of public charging stations for electric vehicles (link available in French only)
- Carpooling, an additional solution which is developing, with a large number of carpooling car parks in the Bas-Rhin and a carpooling lane on highway 35, (formerly A35)
- Car-sharing with Citiz, with its self-service cars and free access vehicle Yea
- Soon, you will be able to call a mobility e-adviser at the new Agence du Climat, which will be up and running in the second half of 2021
Projects heading in the right direction!
- From 2023, the Réseau Express Métropolitain project will be offering extended train services in all the Eurométropole stations
- Tramway extension project to the West (Wolfisheim)
- Tramway extension project to the North (Bischheim)
- High-level bus service G extension project to the Danube sector (link available in French only)
- Buses will be zero emission by 2024 with the gradual commissioning of 49 electric buses (link available in French only)
- The number 50 bus line will become a main line to improve commuting between the Montagne-Verte and Marais districts, running through Hautepierre, Cronenbourg and les Ecrivains
To circulate within an LEZ, the Crit’Air sticker must be placed on the windscreen.
The Crit’Air certificate is a national system used in several major French towns. It ranks the level of pollution of vehicles using six colour stickers, according to their age and engine power. The highest polluting and "non-classified" vehicles will not be allowed to drive within the LEZ.
How can I get a Crit’Air certificate?
You can get a Crit'Air certificate on line. Have your car registration documents ready and click on "apply for a certificate".
By post: Download the "air quality certificate application for private individuals" form (available in French only). Fill in the form and enclose your payment of €3.67 per vehicle (1 form per vehicle). Send it to: "Service de délivrance des certificats qualité de l’air - BP 50637 - 59506 Douai cedex"
For a company car fleet: Login to the platform www.certificat-air.gouv.fr and follow the instructions for downloading.
I have a car; does it apply to me? What should I do?
From 1 January 2022, personalised transport advice, support for claiming aid, information campaigns and educational checks will be put in place to help everyone through the transition phase. The first restrictions in the Eurométropole region will come into force on 1 January 2023 and apply to the most polluting vehicles either uncertified or Crit’Air 5 certified.
Vehicles banned in 2023
- Motorised two-wheeled vehicles, tricycles and quadricycles in circulation before 1 June 2000
- Diesel light utility cars and vehicles in circulation before 1 January 2001
- Petrol cars in circulation before 1 January 1997
- Petrol light utility vehicles in circulation before 1 October 1997
- Diesel heavy goods vehicles, buses and coaches in circulation before 1 October 2006
- Petrol heavy goods vehicles, buses and coaches in circulation before 1 October 2001
The circulation of other vehicles remains authorised in 2023.
The LEZ will be rolled out with the possibility of granting exemptions to certain vehicles fulfilling 'missions of general interest'. Certain exemptions will be compulsory. Others can be allocated on a temporary basis at the discretion of mayors based on specific economic and social criteria.
Mandatory national exemptions include:
- Vehicles of general interest (police, national police force, firefighting, mobile hospital unit...)
- Vehicles of the Ministry of Defence
- Vehicles with disabled parking disks
The Eurométropole of Strasbourg will add exemptions to this list following the outcome of the citizen’s convention and the needs stated by the participants. Trades persons, retailers, professionals and persons with reduced mobility... It will provide assistance in all special situations, taking the needs of each and every one and alternative offers into account.
Examples of additional exemptions the Eurométropole may adopt following the citizen’s convention:
- Technical vehicles concerned by the LEZ for which no "clean" alternative (Crit’air 1 or 0) is currently available on the market
- Food market supply vehicles
- Vintage cars (more than 30 years old) as stated on the registration document
- Minibuses belonging to non-profit associations
The Eurométropole would like to ensure the right to mobility for each and everyone, especially for economic stakeholders.
This is why, as part of its 2021 Budget, the Eurométropole has planned to set up several incentive funds to promote alternatives to cars and car reconversion. One million Euros will be allocated to help small and medium sized businesses to reconvert their car fleet.
Several national and regional aids are available and other solutions can be envisaged together at the citizen’s convention from 10 May 2021.
State support measures to help professionals get equipped with clean vehicles
Companies can benefit from certain support measures in the same way as private individuals:
- The conversion subsidy, the same as for individuals with taxable income of over €13,489.00
- The environmental bonus, subject to certain conditions. Namely for an electric or hybrid car or van, the amount varies according to the vehicle’s CO2 emissions and price.
- The retrofit bonus is also a solution for professionals
Some State support measures for the purchase of clean vehicles are only available to professionals:
- Companies purchasing a heavy goods vehicle can request a special deduction in the form of additional amortisation on their taxable earnings (link available in French only)
- Exemptions or reduced rates on company car tax can be envisaged
- A vehicle running on electricity only and which emits less than 60 g CO₂ per km is not subject to company car tax
- A vehicle using both petrol and natural gas or liquefied petroleum gas is exempt, either permanently or temporarily, of the first component of the price of company car tax
State and region aids for charging stations
- The State is offering to jointly finance charging stations in company car parks (ADVENIR Programme) (link available in French only)
- In its Climaxion Programme to jointly finance corporate charging stations, the Region also provides assistance for professionals (link available in French only)
Active mobility and mobility service equipment offers and subsidies
The State and the Eurométropole commit to offer professionals sustainable mobility solutions and effective alternatives:
Vehicle reconversion aids in addition to that from the State. In its 2021 Budget, the Eurométropole has planned to create a one-million Euro fund specifically dedicated to the conversion of small and medium sized company car fleets.
- Through its V – Logistics Programme, over two years, the State wishes to experiment the loan of 1,100 electric bicycles (electric power-assist bicycles, electric freight) to replace existing combustion engine delivery vehicles (link available in French only)
- The Mobility Pass, which costs €73.50 a month, allows you to have unlimited access to different mobility solutions offered by the Eurométropole (link available in French only)
- Velhop is an offer for businesses to help them optimise their employees’ journeys according to an eco-responsible approach
- Adopte un cargo is also an efficient solution for professionals (link available in French only)
- Citiz offers access to a fleet of vehicles to reduce costs and administrative formalities for companies
Support for businesses, local government offices and associations
Optimix, the mobility facilitator enables companies within the Eurométropole to define a mobility plan in order to promote the emergence of sustainable mobility, and to improve the work environment and occupational well-being (link available in French only).
FAQ - Find out more
What are the risks if I do not follow the rules?
Not following the rules or not identifying a vehicle by means of an air quality certificate, whether while driving or being parked, will lead to a category 3, €68 fine for offenders for a light utility vehicle, and to a category 4, €135 fine for a heavy goods vehicle (article R411-19-1 of the French highway code).
There will be a learning phase before fines become effective in the event of breach of legislation. After that time, cars will be stopped by the local and national police forces to check certificates (sticker verification, proof of exemption and/or vehicle registration document may also be requested). An automated system will be put in place in the longer term.
I am not located within the perimeter of the LEZ but I have to pass through there occasionally. Does the system apply to me?
Yes, the system applies to all vehicles circulating within the perimeter of the LEZ.
Some cars will no longer be able to circulate but can they still park?
No, the LEZ system is permanent. Parking an unauthorised vehicle in the LEZ will lead to a fine.
I have a German environment sticker; do I need to display it as well as a Crit’Air sticker?
Yes, both systems have the same goal (reduce circulation of the highest polluting vehicles) but the thresholds applied are slightly different. Crit’Air stickers must be placed on the windscreen.
How many LEZs are there in Europe and France?
There are more than 220 Low Emission Zones in Europe to date (mainly in Italy, Germany and the Netherlands).
The Law on Mobility (LOM), adopted in 2019, compels the Eurométropole to set up a Low Emission Zone by 2021 at the latest, as it does for 11 other cities in France. This system, already in place in 200 cities in Europe, should be made compulsory by the Climate Law in intercommunalities of more than 150,000 inhabitants by 2024.
How does this apply to vehicles belonging to the authorities and to the town of Strasbourg?
LEZ legislation applies to authorities. They have committed to the energy transition for their fleet of vehicles and have provided for the purchase of gas or electric vehicles to replace older vehicles in their annual budget. The Eurométropole plans to renew its vehicle fleet to be in line with the LEZ.
What is the difference between the "pollution peak" and "low emission zone" systems?
Unlike the "pollution peak" system, which prompts ad hoc action when air pollutant thresholds are exceeded, to prevent the situation from getting worse. A low emission zone provides for year-long improvement of background pollution which is more harmful to health in the long-term. Furthermore, the pollution peak system applies to the entire metropolitan area and its motorways, whereas the LEZ covers 33 towns within the urban area. They are complementary and use the Crit’Air sticker system.