French motorists in high pollution areas will be required to display a “clean sticker” on their vehicle from January to combat pollution that has created a cloud of noxious smog in Paris and other cities.
The six differently coloured Crit’Air (air criteria) stickers will be large enough for the police to see at a distance and will indicate the age of the vehicle, its engine and cleanliness on a scale of one to six.
Although emergency vehicles, vintage cars and certain delivery and security vans will be exempt from the regulation, to take effect from 16 January, stickers will be obligatory for motorbikes and scooters.
On weekdays, vehicles without the stickers will be banned from entering designated zones à circulation restreinte (ZCR – low-emission zones), which will be determined by local authorities based on pollution evaluations.
Announcing a raft of measures to combat the increasing problem of pollution in France’s cities, the ecology minister, Ségolène Royal, said the government was “taking the problem seriously”.
“What we now need is a revolution bringing clean transport, responsible cities, electric vehicles in cities and different ways of moving around,” Royal said.
The alternating traffic rule – in which cars with odd or even registration plates are banned from cities – was enforced for a record four days in Paris last week. It was dropped after the pollution improved over the weekend when the roads were less busy. But Airparif, which monitors air quality in the French capital, warned that the smog, which led to a rise in asthma and hospital admissions for breathing difficulties and caused schools to cancel outdoor sports, could return with the rush-hour traffic on Monday.
Other measures announced include an extension of the “superbonus scheme” in which vehicle owners can obtain a €10,000 (£8,400) payment for changing an old polluting vehicle for an electric one. Until now this has been offered to private car owners but is to be extended to taxis and vans.
From January, the government will also offer €1,000 to those buying an electric scooter.
The Paris mayor, Anne Hidalgo, who has made fighting pollution in the city a priority, has declared she wants the capital free of diesel vehicles by 2020 and the whole of France by 2025.