Introduction (goal, intention, purpose)
The French vignette was created within the framework of the law on energy system transformation and in particular its objectives to reduce air pollution in France. The aim is to reduce emissions and air pollutants in the medium and long term, to promote new and energy-efficient vehicles, and to gradually exclude old and polluting vehicles from traffic. The French environmental sticker is intended above all to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter.
The obligation to have a Certificat qualité de l'Air on the vehicle to be able to drive in the Paris low emission zone was introduced on 01.07.2016. Other cities and municipalities such as Grenoble, Lyon, Lille, Strasbourg and Toulouse followed and regulated the introduction of the French vignette in their respective décrets.
The French vignette/ sticker was introduced after a series of French governmental actions. These are in particular the third environmental and health plan of the planning period 2015-2019, the fine dust plan of the planning period 2010-2015, the emergency plan for air quality from 2012, and the plan for the protection of the atmosphere dated 12th February 2015.
Already in 1998 France introduced the first green environmental badge, the “Pastille verte”, in order to allow the most environmentally friendly vehicles to drive even in case of a highly concentrated air pollution. This badge, however, was abolished in 2012 for various reasons.
According to the national decree for the french anti-pollution sticker (Décret 2016-858 of 29th June 2016), the french sticker subdivides in six categories and colours and consequently makes a difference between the cleanest and newest vehicles and older vehicles and very old vehicles which cause a high pollution to the environment.
Thus the Crit'Air “air certificate” proves the conformity of vehicles under various criteria while considering the emission of air pollutants and the energy efficiency. At least fine dust and nitrogen oxides (NOx) are gathered under the term air pollutants. Consequently the french anti-pollution sticker is comparable with the German environmental sticker.
The allocation of the vehicle types to the vignette categories is regulated in a Décret n° 2016-858 of 29.06.2016.
Features (appearance, description)
The following cities or regions have one or more low emission zones and the French environmental sticker is mandatory, depending on the peak of air pollution:
Annecy, Arve Valley, Chambéry, Côte d'Or/Dijon, Creuse/Guéret, Deux-Sèvres/Niort, Drôme/Valence, Eure-et-Loir/Chartres, Gers/Auch, Gironde/Bordeaux, Grenoble, Haute-Savoie/Annecy, Hérault/Montpellier, Lille, Loire, Loiret/Orleans, Lyon, Maine-et-Loire/Angers, Marseille, Nancy, Paris, Puy-de-Dôme/Clermont-Ferrand, Pyrénées-Atlantiques/Pau, Rennes, Savoie/Chambery, Strasbourg, Toulouse, Vendée/La Roche-sur-Yon, Vienne/Poitiers
The following vehicles are affected by the French environmental zones and require a vignette when entering, depending on the peak of air pollution and the city or region:
Motorcycles (L), car, motorhome (M1), minibus (M2), coach (M3), van (N1), truck (N2), heavy truck (N3)
Not affected are agricultural and forestry machinery.
Which stickers do I get? (classification)
Fines will be imposed in case of a missing or wrong french environmental sticker from 01. July 2017. The fines will depend on the different vehicles' types. The fines will depend on the different vehicles' types which means that for instance trucks and buses will be charged with a much higher fine than passenger cars and motorbikes.
- 68 Euro for passenger cars and all other vehicles (“an infringement of penalty category 3”)
- 135 Euro for trucks and buses (an infringement of “penalty category 4”)
If a fine is not paid within 45 days at the latest, it will rise to “penalty category 3” to 180 Euro and to 375 Euro in “penalty category 4”.
Important to know for foreigners:
From a fine of 70 euros or more, according to EU Directive 2011/82 of 25.10.2011 "to facilitate the cross-border exchange of information on traffic offences which jeopardise road safety", if the fine is not paid, enforcement proceedings will take place in the home country and will continue until the prison sentence is passed.
The general exceptions to the sticker requirement in French low emission zones are very manageable. Especially vehicles of public services (police, fire brigade, emergency service, etc.) and other vehicles of public enterprises. All vehicles that can obtain a French vignette are also obliged to purchase one. Persons with reduced mobility who carry a parking permit for disabled persons also need a french environmental sticker, even though they are exempt from the possible driving bans. Parking cards for disabled persons are the same all over Europe so that vehicles of handicapped persons are recognisable abroad, too.
Each city regulates the exceptions individually, so that in Paris, for example, ZFE disabled vehicles and classic cars older than 30 years are allowed.
How long is my sticker valid?
Unless the engine or exhaust emission standard of the vehicle or the registration number changes, the sticker is valid for the entire lifetime of the vehicle. This means you do not have to buy a new one every year.
Where must my sticker be affixed?
The environmental sticker must be stuck to the left or right inside of the windscreen. It does not matter whether it is on the top or the bottom. The main thing is: clearly visible!
Since motorcycles, such as a motorcycle, do not have a windscreen, the sticker must be attached to the outside of the mudguard using the backing film.
Does my sticker have to be affixed?
Basically: Yes! The Certificat qualité de l'Air is only valid if it is stuck on. However, as the delivery times are sometimes very long and you cannot buy a sticker on site, the printout of the electronic sticker is valid for the transitional period until you receive the original sticker by post.
May several French environmentalstickers be attached to the windscreen?
No! Only the environmental sticker with the currently valid license plate may be attached. It must be clearly and immediately recognizable from the outside. If several stickers with different license plates are stuck to the windscreen, an inspection can result in a fine.
What is the best way to remove the old stickers?
The old stickers can be removed best with a sticker scraper (similar to a glass scraper) or you can carefully heat the sticker with a heat gun so that the glue comes off. Caution! The difference in temperature, especially on cold days, could damage the windscreen.
What happens if the license plate fades?
Our stickers have a 2-year UV protection guarantee - and that without any ifs and buts! Just send us a picture of the faded sticker and we will send you a new one immediately and free of charge.
My windshield is broken and needs to be replaced. What happens to the sticker?
The environmental sticker is such that it will be destroyed when you remove it, so you will have to buy a new one. In many cases, insurance companies will cover not only the cost of the new windscreen but also the cost of the new sticker. A new sticker must therefore be purchased.