Already in October last year, the European Court of Justice had condemned France for violating the nitrogen oxide limits, but without imposing fines.
Now France has six months to take drastic measures to avoid a fine of €10 million per six-month period, according to the ruling of the "Conseil d'Etat" (Council of State). It is an historic decision! Among the eight zones in which the authorised European limits for nitrogen oxides and particulate matter have not been respected, you will find well-known names such as Marseilles, Reims or even Toulouse. It is also a clear message for Grenoble and Lyon, where the driving bans do not (yet) affect individual traffic. Environmental zones, like a complete ban on diesel driving, are unavoidable and must be implemented promptly. The French government seems to have finally recognised this. Despite the fact that there are currently more than 30 environmental zones in France, nine further zones are now being planned and should be activated by 2021 at the latest. Many cities are also expanding their zones and creating permanent zones in addition to the temporary zones. Zones have already been adopted in the cities of Marseille, Reims, Toulouse, Strasbourg and Fort-de-France on the island of Martinique.
In four other cities, discussions are currently underway as to how and when environmental zones will be introduced. In the Arve Valley, the clean air plan provides for a zone. The situation is similar in Montpellier, where in future, in addition to trucks, cars without the appropriate conditions will also be banned from entering. A more detailed study will be published after the summer break and will provide clarity. Finally, Nice and Toulon should also be mentioned, although according to the current state of knowledge no further information is yet available.