Since 2015 – The Austrian Environmental Pickerl / Badge

Since 01/01/2015 all N-class buses and lorries that wish to travel through the defined environmental zones in Austria need a “Emission identification badge”, which is usually called in Austrian Environmental Pickerl / Badge.

The Environmental Pickerl / Badge is available in 6 colours, to each colour various emission classes are assigned. The emission class of vehicle is also marked on the environmental Pickerl / Badge through a hole and confirmed by an emission certificate, which needs to be kept in the vehicle. Currently one is not obliged to buy the Environmental Pickerl / Badge for personal vehicles, because the identification for these is still on a voluntary basis. For motorcycles and other two-axle vehicles the Environmental Pickerl / Badge is not necessary.

The classification of vehicles into emission classes is based on the EURO emission standards, as are set in relevant EU legislation or the Austrian Law KFG 1967. This takes into account whether it is a category M or N vehicle, if a functional particle filter is present and whether the vehicle has a diesel or regular fuelled system or an alternative drive system. With new vehicles the Environmental Pickerl / Badge is already determined and attached by the manufacturer upon delivery of the car. With existing cars the attachment is done only at the request of the driver.

The first environmental zones were first introduced in Austria in Vienna and surrounding areas such as Lower Austria to protect its citizens against the proven extremely harmful fine particulates and to restrict the use of older, in particularly diesel fuelled vehicles. Austrian environmental zones are defined by the provincial governor (president of the state) by means of regulations. He is, however, bound by the stated exceptions in § 14 of the IG-L. He can, if deemed necessary, add additional exceptions to these stated exceptions.
In Austria, in addition to the particulate emissions, the nitrogen dioxide (NOx) emissions are also taken into account for the classification of vehicles according to Emission classes. Thus, the legislature may also prescribe traffic restrictions for areas with NO2 exceedances, in order to contribute to the future reduction of such emissions.

Essentially every vehicle owner can make an own image of the necessary Environmental Pickerl / Badge in accordance to the emission class of their vehicle. Depending on the drive system and age of the vehicle, the data is obtained from the national emission classification database, which serves for the classification of vehicles. The existence of a functioning particle filter is in any case of advantage and will usually give a higher classification and badge colour for the vehicle. The presentation of a technical report and a proof of the professional installation of the particulate filter is, however, necessary.