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France: More driving bans called for

The first winter pollution period was announced in Paris yesterday. The Paris air authority Airparif had predicted on Tuesday that fine particulate matter (PM 10) concentrations would exceed the legal limit of 50 µg/m³ on Wednesday: The concentrations were actually between 55 and 70 µg/m³.

This exceedance can also be measured today, Thursday, so that an advance warning has also been issued for the greater Paris area today. If this limit is also exceeded tomorrow, the prefecture may issue a pollution alert banning the driving of old combustion vehicles. So far, the restrictions on transport only concern speed: in the affected low emission zones, the speed limit will be reduced by 20 km/h, with a speed limit of 70 km/h, unless on roads with a lower speed limit. In addition to regulations on transport, there are also those affecting the agricultural and industrial sectors. For example, burning waste and working with non-electric garden machinery and hand tools is prohibited. But burning wood in private stoves or fireplaces will also no longer be possible.

The Greens in the Paris City Council criticise the approach to air pollution. At present, the prefecture can impose driving bans after three days of pollution. Then vehicles without a French environmental sticker or a sticker 5 or 4 can be excluded from traffic. But in the end this is not automatic, it actually depends on the decision of the prefect. The Greens want driving bans to be able to be imposed now from the first day the limit value is exceeded, and they go even further: if pollution is predicted for the next day, driving bans should already be imposed as a preventive measure, so that the expected air pollution can perhaps even be averted.

This would mean many more driving bans across France. You can find out about all advance warnings or bans, not only in Paris, on a daily basis with the Green-Zones app.