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Where are there environmental zones?

There are environmental zones in many regions of Europe. The EU has issued a directive that obliges its member states to keep the air clean. The environmental zones were therefore introduced by the individual states to protect their citizens from exhaust fumes and bad air. Some countries reduce only particulate matter, others additionally nitrogen oxides, ozone and sulphur dioxides or noise.

In Germany, there are more than 70 environmental zones, mostly in large cities. Hamburg is one of the few large cities that does not have a regular green environmental zone, but only diesel ban zones. In the Ruhr area, the zones are so close together that they partly merge into each other and cover large areas, so they have formed a common large environmental zone since 2012. France also has many environmental zones, some of which are always active, while others are only activated when the air is bad, and only then prohibit some vehicles from entering.

Belgium and the Netherlands, as well as Spain, also have many environmental zones, mostly in large cities. In Austria, there are some that affect entire urban areas, such as in Vienna, or they also regulate who is allowed to drive on the motorways, which are often used by trucks and vans as a link between northern and southern Europe. Austria has so far also introduced the only noise protection zone in Europe. In Außerfern, motorbikes are only allowed a certain number of decibels when stationary. Italy, by the way, has the most environmental zones with over 200. Every small municipality often has its own rules. Chaos is inevitable.

In Denmark and the Scandinavian countries, as well as on the British Isles, there are some environmental zones, also mainly in the cities. London has two huge zones and even a small one just for electric vehicles. In Eastern Europe, only two cities have introduced environmental zones, but then several per city. There are two in Prague and a whole 17! zones in Budapest alone.

4,000 km - that's the distance between the northernmost environmental zone in Umea in Sweden and the southernmost in Athens in Greece. By car, it takes you an incredible 42 hours to cover the distance and you drive through or past 9 environmental zones, at least if you count Budapest as one zone.