Green Cities Fit for Life

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Paris vehicle pollution sticker scheme comes into force

From January 16th, drivers in the French capital city must display an anti-pollution sticker on their vehicle. Failure to display the stickers will result in fines and is part of the effort by French authorities to improve air quality in the city. The Crit’Air (air criteria) scheme was launched in July 2016 but mandatory display was not put in place until this January. The French cities of Grenoble and Lyon are operating similar schemes but the city of Paris is the first to make display mandatory.

The scheme, which includes cars, trucks, motorcyles and scooters restricts access to certain areas in the city during periods of high air pollution, with some vehicles being banned from the city during weekdays.

The city has experienced numerous recent fluctuations in pollution resulting in smog descending over the city in worse cases scenarios. These events have forced traffic reduction measures and resulted in the introduction of free public transport during the worst periods of smog.

Crit’Air stickers to be displayed on vehicle windscreens. Colours indicate the age of each vehicle.

Crit’Air stickers to be displayed on vehicle windscreens. Colours indicate the age of each vehicle.

The Crit’Air stickers, displayed on the windscreen of vehicles, indicate the age and perceived cleanliness of the vehicle. Pre 1996 registered cars (petrol and diesel), 1997 vans and 2000 scooters, motorcycles and lorries and buses registered before 2001 are banned from the city between the hours of 8am and 8pm.

Anne Hidalgo, mayor of Paris, is to continue the campaign to reduce the number of cars in the city by half. The city authority plans include pedestrianising areas of the capital and in the longer term, a ban on all diesel vehicles.

Parisian smog (REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer)

Parisian smog (REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer)

Diesel particulate is found to cause issues with lung, heart and brain functions. This particularly affects young children. The European Environment Agency (EEA) has stated that 85% of citizens living in urban areas in the EU are exposed to harmful levels of particulate matter.

Similar schemes have been implemented in a number of cities across Europe in including Oslo and Munich. Oslo is planning on banning all private vehicles from its city centre by 2019 and is currently implementing preliminary measures to achieve this. Munich already operates a windscreen sticker scheme and has restrictions on the type of vehicles that can drive on the streets of the city.

It is now estimated that up to 2.5 million Crit’Air stickers have been ordered through the official website which in the long run authorities hope will result in greater air quality for the denizens of Paris.