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Low emission zones & driving bans: What will change in 2022?

Originally, a whole series of new rules and driving restrictions were to come into force in the year that is coming to an end. But the unpredictable pandemic led many municipalities and conurbations to postpone the introduction of an environmental zone or to abandon it altogether because pollution levels had improved. The latter may be directly related to the decreased traffic during the curfews. Nevertheless, we at Green-Zones® show where things are still happening and who will be affected by future driving bans in 2022.


In Limburg, an environmental zone is planned for April, but it only consists of one road, the part of the B8 between Diezer and Wiesbadener Straße. There it is only allowed to drive with a diesel class 6 and with a petrol class 3. Residents still have a grace period until 30 September 2022. It is not quite hopeless for drivers yet, because if the air values miraculously improve by the end of 2021, there will be no driving bans.  


In France, a whole series of new low emission zones should be introduced in 2021. An undertaking that was repeatedly postponed, not least due to the pandemic. Even now it is still unclear in which cities the low emission zones will be introduced, although many cities are legally obliged to introduce them.

In Lille, the introduction of a low emission zone was originally planned for last year, but it was postponed until January 2022. But even at this stage it is not clear whether the zone will really come into force on 1 January 2022.

The Toulouse low emission zone was already planned for September 2021, even the appropriate signs were unveiled; vehicles with the French sticker 5 and without a sticker were to be banned. The corresponding decree was ready to be signed by the three mayors of the affected municipalities. But then it was determined nationally that only the prefect of the conurbation could sign it. In order to be legally unchallengeable, the decree must now be rewritten. It is not yet certain when this will be the case.

After the opponents of the low emission zone had formed in Lyon, there was a public consultation in which everyone could make their opinion known. This citizen consultation is now scheduled to last until 5 February 2022. Driving bans for private cars without stickers and with sticker 5 are planned for the summer of 2022. As a reminder, vans and trucks are also no longer allowed to enter with stickers 4 and 3. The inclusion of the M6/M7 motorways (formerly: A6/A7) in the low emission zone is also under discussion.

In Strasbourg, there has been a temporary zone for the conurbation (Eurometropolis) until now. This will now be converted into a permanent zone. From 1 January 2022, all vehicles without a sticker or with a sticker 5 will be refused entry. Theoretically. Because in practice, fines and tickets will only be handed out one year later. The first year serves as a so-called "pedagogical year".  

The low emission zone in St. Etienne will come into force on 31 January 2022. Until 2027, only trucks and light commercial vehicles without stickers will be affected. From January 2025, vehicles with stickers 4 and 5 will be excluded. Motorbikes and private vehicles will have free passage.  

Since 30 August, a 30 km/h speed limit has been in force on many Parisian roads. Next year on 1 July, vehicles with the French sticker 3 will also be excluded from traffic.

Grenoble often has to deal with air pollution due to its location in a mountain valley. Here too, as in Paris, sticker 3 will no longer be permitted from 1 July 2022. Light commercial vehicles and trucks will have to have sticker class 2 on their windscreens from that date.

The biggest point of contention in Nice is the Boulevard des Anglais, which runs along the coast. Its status as a main road must be changed so that driving bans can be imposed there at all. The "environmental zone" project plans to ban trucks (N2, N3) from the city centre and the coastal boulevard that have a French sticker below 4.

In Rouen in northern France, the environmental zone, which was only introduced in July 2021, is to be enlarged on 1 January 2022. However, it is still being discussed which parts of the city should be added to the low emission zone. Legal entities driving vans and trucks without stickers or with stickers 4 and 5 are still affected by driving bans. From 1 July 2022, all other types of vehicles will also be affected by the driving bans, even if they are used privately.


The Netherlands does not like the French patchwork. There, all existing low emission zones are being tightened up at the same time. In 13 cities, lorries (N2, N3) are only allowed to enter with Euro 6. In addition, a new low emission zone will be introduced in Haarlem in January. The 13 cities affected are Amsterdam, Arnhem, Breda, Delft, The Hague, Eindhoven, Leiden, Maastricht, Rijswijk, Rotterdam, 's-Hertogenbosch, Tilburg and Utrecht.


Brussels is also tightening its environmental zone. Vehicles with diesel Euro 4 will no longer have access from 1 January 2022. The biggest change will take place the following year, when the whole of Wallonia, the southern part of the country, will become a single low emission zone.  


In the Swedish capital there are two Low Emission Zones, one of which covers only one street. There, on Hornsgatan in Stockholm's Södermalm district, all cars, minibuses and vans running on diesel must be Euroclass 6 from 1 July 2022.


In Madrid, it was decided on 13 September 2021 to gradually declare the entire city an environmental zone. This will begin on 1 January 2022. The zone will then be called Distrito Centro. Within the M-30 motorway, only residents or non-residents who have a sticker will be allowed to enter. The M-30 motorway itself is exempt - but only until next year, when the motorway itself will also be included in the zone. What else is changing: Traders with cars without stickers (so-called A-vehicles) have been banned from entering. From next year, they will be able to enter with up to three vehicles, regardless of the sticker. Trucks heavier than 3.5 tonnes will not be allowed to enter the zone for another year until 1 January 2023.

The rules in the Barcelona Low Emission Zone will also be tightened. From 01.01.2022, heavy trucks of class N2 and N3 and light buses of class M2 will need at least Euronorm 4. Coaches of class M3 will still have until 01.07.2022 to enter the zone, after which Euro 0-3 vehicles will be banned.  


Denmark no longer has stickers, but reads the number plates and recognises the year of first registration. From 1 January 2022, buses and trucks running on diesel must comply with Euro 6 in all four environmental zones nationwide, i.e. they must have been registered for the first time after 1 January 2015 in order to be allowed to enter the environmental zones. From 1 July 2022, vans must be registered after 1 January 2012. For older vehicles, proof of retrofitting with a particulate filter or the required Euro standard must be presented.

Great Britain:

From 30 May 2022, there will be an environmental zone in Manchester. Diesel-powered trucks over 3.5 tonnes will need Euroclass 6 to enter. Vehicles under 3.5 tonnes running on diesel need Euroclass 6. Petrol cars under 3.5 tonnes need at least Euro 4. Privately used cars, motorbikes and mopeds are not affected by the restrictions. Diesel-powered taxis and transport services also need Euro 6, petrol cars here again only Euro 4. All vehicles that do not meet the requirements of the zone have to pay a daily fee based on the size and type of the vehicle.