Only a third of UK drivers are aware of the new emissions regulations that can ban vehicles from entering built-up areas in France, new data from RAC reports.
A number of cities in France including Paris, Grenoble and Lyon now operate the Crit’Air scheme, which applies restrictions for certain vehicles during peak times.
The Crit’Air scheme requires all vehicles entering particular locations – including those arriving from the UK – to display a ‘vignette’ or sticker that shows how polluting it is based on its Euro emissions category.
A green sticker is issued to the cleanest vehicles, whilst the dirtiest that still qualify for the scheme get a dark grey one. Cities and towns can then choose to restrict access only to those vehicles that are displaying particular stickers, in an attempt to improve local air quality.
Restrictions are given to those who do not qualify for any sticker.
RAC has warned that up to a third of motorists heading from the UK to France are currently not familiar with the regulations.
Rod Dennis, RAC European Breakdown spokesman, encourages all British drivers taking their vehicles to France to apply now for a Crit’Air sticker via the official French Government websites, which has an English language option.
According to reports in France, already almost 50,000 UK drivers have applied.
Rod Dennis says that “only time will tell” how effective the French scheme will prove, but that it’s vital anyone heading there knows it is expanding.
He explains that drivers only need apply once for their sticker, which stays with the vehicle, so anyone planning a trip should simply apply now.
He said: “It’s also important to remember that France is in effect operating two different types of emission control schemes, both of which rely on vehicles displaying a Crit’Air sticker. Paris and Grenoble have started operating permanent schemes that apply to particular times during the week, while others such as Lyon and Lille currently only use emergency schemes – giving the cities power to ban vehicles when pollution is expected to reach a certain level.
“But we expect as time moves on that an increasing number of towns and cities will probably opt for permanent schemes.
“Drivers should ensure they apply only via the official French government website as the RAC is aware of a number of third party websites that sell the same sticker for substantially more money. A scan (or photo) of the car’s registration form will need to be uploaded, and it will also be necessary to check the Euro emissions category of the vehicle.”