Switzerland also has to deal with air pollution. But it does not have to adhere to the EU's specifications. Instead, it has declared a much stricter limit value for particulate matter to be binding. It is not the European 40 µg/m³ that applies in Switzerland, but 30 µg/m³, which must be adhered to. Because this does not always work, there is an environmental zone in Geneva and the surrounding towns of Carouge, Cologny, Lancy and Vernier.
Since the beginning of last year, there has been the first and so far only environmental zone in Switzerland. It is activated when limit values are exceeded and is valid in Geneva from Monday to Sunday between 6 am and 10 pm. Then it is necessary to have a Stick'Air on the windscreen, which is a sticker that comes in 6 categories from 1 (cleanest) to 5. There is also a category for electric or hydrogen vehicles, which is stuck on if the vehicle does not emit any pollutants when it is driven. The system is very similar to the French one, which is why the French stickers are also valid in Switzerland. The other way round, however, is not. In the case of high air pollution, it is announced which of the categories will be refused entry to the city. Stickers 3, 4 and 5 can be excluded. Those who do not have a sticker at all -- and this also applies to foreign vehicles -- must stay outside the city gates anyway. Those who enter anyway will have to pay the equivalent of 455 euros.
But there are other Swiss efforts to tackle air and noise pollution. This summer, a speed limit was introduced on Feldberger Strasse in the Kleinbasel district on the right bank of the Rhine in Basel. The arterial road is used by up to 13,000 vehicles every day. Since then, everything there does not go faster than 30km/h. An environmental zone is also planned, which will only allow vehicles that meet at least Euronorm 6 to enter and pass through.
In the valleys of Switzerland, noise protection zones are also planned that will no longer allow vehicles that are louder than 95 decibels when stationary. But this may take some time, because first the proposal has to pass the Council of States, then it will probably be improved and must be approved once again by the Council of States. That could well take until the end of 2022. Until then, loud engines will continue to roar through the Swiss valleys.
Lucerne, meanwhile, has announced that it will not allow any internal combustion vehicles in the city from 2040. The city's vehicle fleet is even to be powered completely without fossil fuels as early as 2030.
When the zones come into force, you'll be the first to know here on the blog when they are activated, in the Green Zones app of course!