Environmental zones and traffic restrictions in Germany

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The main goal of the 55 environmental zones already introduced in Germany is to protect the inhabitants of the cities and municipalities against the presence of fines particles in the air.

Currently, traffic in the environmental zones is only allowed for vehicles bearing a green environmental badge (except in one zone), which means only for vehicles whose criteria meet the prescription of the norm EURO 4 or superior. In this way, German environmental zones are called also green environmental zones.

Find all the detailed information and zoom-maps about each German environmental zone on the right side of this web-page.

Picture: Sign 270.1 Begin of the environmental zone

Thanks to the introduction of the obligation of bearing an environmental badge in the environmental zones for all the vehicles of the classes N1 to N3 and M1 to M3 (cars, busses and trucks), the rates of fine particles in the air have been drastically reduced. However, an extension of the restriction’s measures shall also consider in the future the emissions of nitrogen oxides. The emissions of nitrogen oxides, mostly produced by diesel vehicles, are as a matter of fact increasing in such a way that the limits fixed by the European Union are constantly exceeded. This could lead to the introduction of blue environmental zones in Germany.

Picture: Sign 270.2 End of the environmental zone

The introduction of environmental zones in Germany is the prerogative of the cities and municipalities. According to the Germen directive relating to the classification of the less emitting vehicles from the 10.10.2006, cities and municipalities are allowed to establish traffic restrictions zones in order to reduce the rates of fine particles in the air.

However, it is also possible that some cities introduce traffic restrictions based on the EURO norm of diesel vehicles. These traffic restrictions for diesel vehicles are already planned in some German cities to be introduced in 2018 and will be valid in the “diesel-restriction-zones” or “blue environmental zones”, which must still be determined. Their goal will be to restrain the traffic of diesel vehicles depending on their emissions rate of nitrogen oxides.

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