Low Emission Zones in Europe.
Vehicle emission LEZ regulations, emission
sticker and pollution badge requirements and locations.
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Relative Carbon Emissions
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Cities throughout Germany and a number in Northern Italy are now participating
in, or soon will be, the Low Emissions Zone scheme to reduce pollution. London
has its own LEZ but so far this does not apply to private cars. Participating
cities in Germany require all vehicles, including cars, to display a
windscreen sticker confirming that the vehicle meets the necessary emission
standards. The stickers come in different colours which correspond to road
signs. If your vehicle does not display the right colour sticker you can be
fined 40 euros on-the-spot. In Germany the stickers are known as Umwelt Plakette
The information on this page is relevant to Germany. At the time of writing
we can find no information on the LEZs in Northern Italy. Any
information on Italian LEZs or any others in Europe would be gratefully received
We suggest you purchase a sticker before driving to Germany as this saves the
hassle of finding a sales point once you have arrived. It has recently become
easier to do this following the launch of the
Berlin City Environmental Zone Sticker website where you simply input your
vehicle registration number, scan your vehicle registration document and upload
the resultant file. You can pay the 6 euro fee by credit card. As with stickers
purchased anywhere in Germany they are valid for the life of the vehicle and for
use in any German Low Emission Zone.
Another website offering online application forms and which also offers
information on LEZs in other European countries is
http://www.lowemissionzones.eu/. There is an
application form for German permits here.
You still need to print out the form and send it together with 12.5 euro.
In participating cities, Emission Badges are available from a wide range of
outlets including repair centres, car dealers, MOT (Tüv or DEKRA) stations and
vehicle licensing offices. The stickers cost between 5 and 10 euros, depending
on where you buy them, and are valid for the life of the vehicle and anywhere in
Germany. You will need to produce the Vehicle Registration Document and the
latest MOT certificate (if applicable). The easiest way to obtain a sticker is
simply to visit any Vehicle Garage that is a testing station for TUV or DEKRA,
of which there are many.
Our personal opinion is that although we support any attempt to improve the
environment, the scheme is currently badly thought out. It is not easy for
drivers from other countries to find anything out about the German (not to
mention the Italian) scheme, and we guess many drivers will find themselves in
breach of the regulations through ignorance. The solution, it seems to us, is a
Europe-wide scheme where stickers can be obtained in any country and would be
valid throughout the EU.
Green Zones: The German cities participating in the
Enviromental Green Zone scheme are currently -
Berlin, Cologne, Dortmund, Hanover, Ilsfeld, Leonberg, Ludwigsburg, Mannheim,
Reutlingen, Schwäbisch-Gmünd, Stuttgart, Tübingen
July 2008: Frankfurt am Main (not confirmed), Regensburg (not
October 2008: Munich.
January 2009: Nuremberg
January 2010: Darmstadt, Freiburg, Heidelberg, Karlsruhe,
Mühlacker, Pforzheim, Pleidelsheim
Dates TBA.: Augsburg, Braunschweig, Dresden, Duesseldorf,
Essen, Leipzig, Magdeburg, Ruhr Area, Ulm
Q. - Will my vehicle be examined when applying for a Emission Badge?
A. - Your vehicle maybe looked at very briefly by an
engineer, this is purely to establish the age and type of engine.
Q.- What do the colour categories represent?
A.- The four colour categories are directly linked to the
European emission standards, these are sets of requirements defining the
acceptable limits for exhaust emissions of new vehicles sold in EU member
states. Euro 2 is Red, Euro 3 Orange and Euro 4 Green. Petrol vehicles with a
catalytic converter are always Euro 4 and will automatically be entitled to a
Q.- Which vehicles will not be able to claim a badge?
A.- Vehicles without a catalytic converter or a particulate filter.
Q.- What can I do if a badge is refused?
A.- Failed, red or orange badge holders should upgrade their
vehicles with a catalytic converter, or for diesel engines a particulate filter.
Most upgraded vehicles will be able to claim a green badge which is necessary
for entering a green zone in 2010.
Q.- How is the scheme enforced?
A.- Anyone caught with out a valid Emission Badge within a Low Emission Zone,
either on the move or parking, will be fined €40. Enforcement will be managed by
the police, local authorities and traffic wardens.
All information on this page is provided as a
service to our clients. It is intended as a guide to the more important rules
for the different countries to which we offer driving holidays. It is not meant
to be a comprehensive document. We try and keep the information on this page
up-to-date, but we cannot be held responsible in any way for any consequences
arising from any inaccuracies. If you find a mistake or would like to send us
some additional information, please email
us. Your co-operation is appreciated.