• How Is Paris Using Stickers to Manage Pollution?

Air Clean Up

How Is Paris Using Stickers to Manage Pollution?

Jan 18 2017

The Parisian Mayor Anne Hidalgo has unveiled her latest scheme intended to combat rising levels of pollution in the French capital – anti-pollution stickers which must be displayed by all vehicles entering the city limits.

The stickers are divided into six categories which designate varying levels of pollution, as well as a seventh into which the oldest vehicles fall. On particularly polluted days, cars, buses, lorries and scooters which are guilty of higher rates of pollution may be refused entry into the city.

Hidalgo’s latest offence

The measure, known as Crit’Air (a play on words involving criteria and air), came into effect on Monday 16th January and is a direct response to increased incidences of heavy smog over the capital. Motorists must obtain and display a sticker on their vehicle or else risk a fine of between €68 and €135, though it’s thought that penalties will be few and far between in the opening months of its implementation.

The idea is just the latest in a series of environmentally-minded initiatives from the socialist mayor, who has made it her personal mission to clean up Paris’ poor airwaves. In September 2015, Paris was turned into a car-free city for one day, with motorists encouraged to take advantage of the city’s extensive public transportation network free of charge.

She has also put forward plans to pedestrianize the banks of the River Seine, which if they come to fruition would cost a total of €8 million and would revolutionise the appearance of Paris city centre.  

British motorists beware

The new legislation will apply to all vehicles entering the French capital, including overseas cars from the UK. As such, British tourists visiting Paris have been warned to make sure they comply with the law or risk incurring a hefty fine.

Stickers can be obtained online and cost roughly €4 (£3.50) to purchase. According to the environment minister Ségolène Royal, 2.5 million units have already been ordered and though the website is currently only available in French, plans to roll out a foreign-language extension of it are scheduled for later this month.

The seventh, unlisted category of the stickers applies to cars that were registered prior to 1997, motorbikes and scooters from before 2000 and buses and trucks from pre-2001. These vehicles will be banned outright from entering Paris when pollution is particularly poor.

Not everyone is convinced

While the government is enthusiastic about the new measure and believes it will prove to be far more effective than the odd-even number plate embargo imposed at periodic intervals over the past few years, not everyone is supportive of its implementation.

The organisation 40 Million Motorists have been outspoken in their condemnation of the stickers, claiming that little support has been provided to those motorists who currently own polluting vehicles through little fault of their own.

“In Germany for example there is a system for adapting older cars and people are given a subsidy by the government to fit their car with that non-polluting technology,” explained Daniel Quéro, a spokesperson for the outfit. “Whereas in France solutions are being put forth without offering good alternatives.”


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