FAQ Frequently asked Questions

  • What does PM mean? Open or Close

    PM stands for Particulate Matter, or very small dust particles. 

    Where we have the phrase eg Euro 4(PM), it means that you are allowed into the low emission zone if your vehicle meets the Particulate aspect of the Euro 4 standard. In other words, have retrofitted your older vehicle with a diesel particulate filter.

     

  • Do LEZs apply to motorhomes and camper vans? Open or Close

    It depends on the country and the size of the motorhome / campervan. Increasingly low emission zones are also affecting light duty vehicles, often all vehicles. This means that campervans are included If the motorhome is under 3.5T, it is restricted in:

    • Germany
    • London
    • France
    • the light duty LEZs in the Netherlands
    • Belgium
    • many Italian cities
    • Spain
    • Prague
    • Lisbon
    • As well as the Smog Schemes, in operation at times of high pollution. If the motorhome is over 3.5T:
    • In Denmark and Sweden campervans are not affected (as long as they have less than 9 seats)
    • Budapest and Prague it's heavy duty vehicles that are affected, so the motorhome is affected
    • In the Netherlands lorry LEZs and the Austrian motorway restrictions are for lorries only, so the motorhome is not restricted.
    • They are also affected in the schemes listed above for
  • How can I find out more about air quality and health? Open or Close

    Our low emission zone pages give some information about air quality and health and some further sources.

  • What do I do if there is no LEZ retrofit certification in my country? Open or Close

    If there is no retrofit LEZ certification in your own country, then any existing retrofit certification or national recognition is recommended. In the absence of both of these we would suggest that a particulate filter is chosen that is valid in the country you are travelling to, with a certification from the manufacturer.

  • How can I find out more information about low emission zones (LEZs). Open or Close

    Information about LEZs can be found on the individual LEZ pages, either by clicking our map, or an introduction into Low Emission Zones on our LEZ pages.

  • Do I have to do anything before I enter the zone? Do I have to register before entering? Open or Close

    This depends on the zone. Low emission zones in the following countries require action before you enter the zone. See our list of where you need to register for LEZs. Urban Road Charging schemes often require payment before entering the zone, see our congestion charging overview. Urban access regulations often require a permit if you are allowed access, see the urban access regulations overview page.

  • Why are cities doing Low Emission Zones? Open or Close

    To reduce air pollution, as air pollution kills. To find out more see our What are low emission zones page.

  • What is the difference between air pollution and CO2? Open or Close

    Air pollution affects the local air we breathe. CO2 affects climate change, which is where the earth is getting gradually warmer, and level of the sea is rising due to the icebergs melting. Both are a problem, and measures to reduce one, such as energy efficiency, will often reduce the other.

  • What happens if I enter a LEZ and my vehicle does not meet the emissions standards? Open or Close

    This depends on the LEZ, see the individual city information. In most cases if you are identified you will be fined or charged, and in Germany you will also receive points on your driving licence. If your vehicle is a foreign vehicle in the LEZ, you may well still be fined or charged. 

  • What are the future plans of LEZs and other schemes? Open or Close

    Schemes are included on our website when they are confirmed as being in operation. They then have the information on a full page, including their confirmed future plans. Plans that are under discussion or consideration are not included, as these may not come into operation, and we do not want to cause confusion. Search on our city search from the homepage, or many other pages.

  • Which vehicles are affected in which LEZ or other schemes? Open or Close

    Our overview pages give a guide to which vehicles are affected in which LEZs. Generally the vehicles affected are the same for each country. However, in Italy it can vary, and in the Netherlands some LEZs will affect vans while the rest affect lorries only, and in the UK the London LEZ affects a wide range of vehicles while the other LEZs in the UK affect public buses only. Further information on which vehicles are affected in which LEZ can be found in our Overview of LEZs. For urban road charging the information is on our Overview of Urban Road Charging Schemes. For other types of urban access regulation or access restriction schemes, see Urban Access Regulations. The different vehicle categories affected are:

    • All vehicles
    • Heavy duty vehicles
    • Local buses under agreements
    • Lorries only
    • Vans
    • Vehicles with 4+ wheels
  • How to apply for Permit Open or Close

    Full information on each scheme, including how to apply for a permit, where a permit is available or needed is given on our full page. Where an exemption is possible, we list the exemptions, and you will need to contact the city authority for more details, we give the link to the city authority on each page. We try to keep the exemptions up to date, but they can change frequently, so we update them periodically. The exemptions may not be as up to date as the rest of the information, and the details should be checked with the city authority for more recent information. The exemption page for each city states the last update.

  • What evidence is required for the emissions standard of your vehicle? Open or Close

    Full information on each scheme, including what evidence is required for the emissions standard of your vehicle is given on our full page for each country or city. Search for the city you want in the city search on our homepage or other pages.

  • Are foreign vehicles affected by the schemes? Open or Close

    Most schemes affect foreign vehicles. Full information on the scheme, including whether foreign vehicles are affected by the scheme is given on the full page for each scheme. All urban road charging schemes affect foreign vehicles. For most LEZs, foreign vehicles are also affected. The exemptions are: The Netherlands, where only Dutch vehicles are affected The bus LEZs in the UK (Norwich, Oxford, Brighton) only affect public buses. The Athens LEZ does not affect foreign vehicles

  • What times are schemes in operation? Open or Close

    Most Low Emission Zones operate permanently. The exemptions are Italy, where LEZs sometimes operate at peak or other selected times. Lisbon LEZ operates weekday daytime. Athens is weekday daytime and evening. In addition, some Italian LEZs and Athens LEZ are not in operation all the year. 

    Urban Road Tolls usually operate during the weekday daytime. Some, particularly in Norway, have different charges depending on the time of day.

    There is more variation in other Access Regulations. The Italian Traffic Limited Zones, also known as ZTL are often during specific times, each city differently. The German Lorry Bans are permanent.  Prague >3.5T and the Budapest access regulation operate weekday daytime.  

    For more details, see each city for more details. Use the city search on our homepage or many other pages.

  • How are the Schemes enforced? Open or Close

    Most low emission zones are manually enforced, but cameras and transponders (electronic device that transmits payments to the toll-stations – in French transpondeur) are also used, generally country-by-country, as below:

    Manual enforcement is used in the SwedishLisbon, AthensAustrian motorway, French, Spanish and German low emission zones. Stickers are needed only for Austrian motorwayFrench, Spanish and German low emission zones. When LEZs start happening in the Czech Republic, these will also need a sticker - likely to be mutually recognised with the German scheme.

    The Dutch LEZsLondon-LEZ and Milan-Ecopass are camera enforced

    Most Italian LEZs are manually enforced however a few have camera or even electronic enforcement, often when combined with another scheme or pedestrian zone. The main exemption to this is the Milan Area C and B.

    The Danish LEZs set out the 3 manual enforcement methods: Firstly lorries are checked by municipal inspectors when they are visiting a company; Secondly traffic wardens check vehicles parked on the street; Finally, police at routine roadside checks. Both inspectors and traffic wardens can call the police when needed.

    The Norwich, Brighton and Oxford bus LEZs (UK) are enforced through agreements with the local bus operators.

    The Norwegian LEZs intend to use the same electronic device system as used for the motorway and urban road tolls (Autopass), with camera and manual enforcement also possible, as well as cameras to enforce those who do not pay.

    Urban Road Charging enforcement in the Milan Area C, Valletta, London, the UK River Crossing tolls, Goteborg and Stockholm urban road charging schemes are enforced with cameras viewing the number plate. The Norwegian urban road tolls are enforced with transponders, the same as are used for the motorway toll system Durham congestion charge is enforced by a payment booth at the entry of the scheme.

    For other Access Regulations there is more variation by city. For many of the Italian Traffic Limited Zones, also known as ZTL those who are allowed in are required to get permission before entering. The Prague >3.5T and Budapest access regulation requires registration. The German Lorry Bans simply require you to obey the road sign.

    For more details, see each city for more details. Use the city search on our homepage or many other pages.

  • How much time before entering do you need to give notice? Open or Close

    This will vary from scheme to scheme, so please see the individual city or country. Use the city search on our homepage or many other pages.

    For Schemes which require a Sticker (see FAQ How are the Schemes enforced?), you should leave at least 6 weeks before you wish to travel, to allow time for the sticker to arrive. In many countries you can also buy the sticker at the city offices or garage. However, you will need to get there without your vehicle first, if they are within the zone, and make sure that you bring your vehicle registration papers with proof of your vehicle emissions standard (see what emissions standards is my vehicle).

    For schemes where registration is required before entry (see the FAQ Do I have to do anything before I enter the zone? Do I have to register before entering?), you need to allow enough time for the registration process. 

    For urban road tolls / congestion charges, you can either pay before entering, or are sent a bill (Norway). You can often pay up to midnight of the day entered, but check on the individual city before you rely on this !

  • What Urban Access Regulations data do you provide? Open or Close

    The website has all Urban Access Regulations through 3 types of data:

    LEZ Emission Zones where access is regulated by vehicle emissions. Vehicles driving into the zone must meet the emissions standards given. Our website gives all the information you need on all current or confirmed future LEZs. Search using our city search, country menu, map or search using the table of all schemes below.

    Urban Road Charging where access is regulated by payment. Vehicles are allowed to go in, but need to pay a charge to enter the city area (except Milan; Area C is both a LEZ and charge). See Road Charging Overview.

    Major Access Regulation Schemes (key-ARS) where access is regulated by other methods. For example where access is allowed at certain times of the day or only permits are needed and granted for certain types of vehicles. These are also known as Traffic Restrictions, Access Control Schemes, Permit Schemes or in Italy ZTLs. We also call them key-ARS on our website.

    If you want our data in a different form to that here, please contact us at alert@urbanaccessregulations.eu. Please note, the copyright on the data on our website is held by the European Union and Sadler Consultants Europe GmbH.

  • How can I buy a German sticker if I live outside Germany? Open or Close

    There are three main ways to buy a German low emission zone sticker (Umweltplakette).

    1. German LEZ stickers can be purchased online for all vehicles in all countries for 17.50€ (from inside of Germany 9,90), also available to purchase in different languages.

    2. Within Germany, they are available from every TÜV station. So for example, they can be bought in TÜV offices in towns without an LEZ without entering the LEZ. TÜV sud locations can be found by the search on their homepage. TÜV Nord offices can be found here, offices outside Germany where stickers can be bought are listed below.

    3. You can buy German stickers in person in the TÜV offices in the countries below. Czech Republic, Sweden, The Netherlands, Finland. You can also buy them in Belgium from VAB Belgium office (VAB Pastor Coplaan 100 2070 Zwijndrecht).

    Make sure that you leave enough time for the sticker to arrive! At least 6 weeks is recommended.

    ! Please beware, some internet sites charge you much more than the websites listed above!

  • Are odd and even number plate schemes effective? Open or Close

    In cases of very high pollution, cities such as Beijing or Delhi have introduced 'odd and even numberplate' traffic regulations. For example on the 8th December 2015 in Beijing. The schemes can have an impact on traffic and pollution in the short term in extreme situations - but at the cost of significant inconvienience. If they become longer term measures, then their impact reduces, as has happened in Athens (Greece) where they are adopting emissions aspects to improve the odd and even scheme. Outside Europe, in Tehran (Iran) found that their odd-even scheme was no longer effective, and are now implementing a low emission zone. While odd-even schemes can sometimes be useful in extreme pollution events, it is better to work in a more planned way to ensure that the pollution levels reduce so that they do not reach the high levels. In Europe we have long had measures such as vehicle emission standards ('Euro standards"), low sulphur petrol and diesel (which reduces emissions). These can be combined with long term local measures, such as low emission zones , congestion charging and traffic limited zones are more effective for traffic. For more information on other things that are done to improve air quality, see our page on what else is being done to reduce air pollution.

  • What does eg Euro 4(PM) mean? Open or Close

    Diesel: Euro 4(PM) means that the particulate aspect of the set Euro standard needs to be met. This means that a diesel particulate filter can be used to bring a pre-Euro 4 vehicle to meet the Euro 4 standard to enable access into the zone. This means that:

    • A Euro 4 diesel vehicle can enter the zone.
    • If the zone affects cars or vans, then a Euro 3 diesel car/van can fit a diesel particulate filter to reach the Euro 4 standard, and enter the zone.
    • For heavy duty vehicles, diesel particulate filters are often available to bring a Euro 2 or even Euro 1 vehicle to reach the particulate aspect of the Euro 4 standard.

    For more information on which countries allow what retrofits, please see our which retrofit is valid page.

  • I have a penalty notice from a private company called epcplc for a London LEZ or Congestion Charge fine. Is it legitimate or fake? Open or Close

    Yes, it is valid and legitimate. Unfortunately, for many countries, there is not a more direct way for cities to enforce penalties. So cities like London use private management companies. London uses epcplc, which has bank accounts in each country, to make it easier (and cheaper) for those paying the fines Pay these penalty notices as soon as you can. The cost can increase if you delay paying. Other cities use other comanies. If you are in doubt, check with the city or company website.

  • Where do I buy the cheapest Low Emission Zone Stickers? Open or Close

    From the websites linked from each city page on urbanaccessregulations.eu. Watch out for other websites selling stickers and plakettes. They can be around 5 times more expensive than the official sources. Similarly for paying congestion charges. Make sure you use the official sources. These are linked from our website, urbanaccessregulations.eu, together with all the reliable information you need about the scheme.

  • What stickers do I need for low emission zones in Europe? Open or Close

    Manual enforcement is used in the SwedishLisbonAthensAustrian motorwayFrench, Spanish and German low emission zones.

    Stickers are needed only for Austrian motorwayFrench, Spanish and German low emission zones. When LEZs start happening in the Czech Republic, these will also need a sticker - likely to be mutually recognised with the German scheme.

    Check on each country, where you can get the stickers, and if you need to get them (particularly for Spanish and Czech Stickers).

    ! Please beware, some internet sites charge you much more than the websites given on this website!

  • FAQ French Crit'Air sticker Open or Close

    Crit'Air is an abbreviation for certificat qualité de l'air = Air Quality Certificate.

    The certificate is a round sticker that must be displayed in a prominent position on your vehicle. It is a secure document.
    There are 6 different types of certificates.
    Each certificate corresponds to a vehicle class defined according to air pollutant emissions.
    Older vehicles covered by less stringent emissions standards are not eligible for a certificate.
    This website is the official site for issuing Air Quality Certificates.

    You can apply for your certificate (€3.11 + franking) here.

    For more detailed information go to the official French site.

  • FAQ Spanish stickers distintivos ambientales Open or Close

    There are four different Spanish stickers that distinct vehicles by their emission. They are called distintivos ambientales.

     

    The sticker can be purchased in post offices, workshops, administrative managers, Ganvam association, online or here. So far the sticker is only available in Spain.

    Find more information on the Spanish sticker on the official Spanish website

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