Low Emission Zones, all about them

As part of the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and the fight against global warming, low emission zones or LEZs have been established in France. The limitations of these zones are defined at the local level by the prefect. Stations-e offers to clarify the functioning of these zones which are bound to multiply in France in the coming years

In short, what is it?

A low emission zone (LEZ) is a measure put in place by the government to fight against pollution in cities. As part of the Paris agreements to limit global warming to 2°C, the implementation of these zones aims to limit the emission of greenhouse gases and pollution concentrated in fine particles. Another objective of the implementation of these zones is to accelerate the transition to cleaner and more environmentally friendly mobility.


The first to be affected: the metropolises

Currently, low-emission zones are being deployed in 11 French cities: Aix-Marseille, Greater Paris, Grenoble, Lyon, Montpellier, Nice, Reims, Rouen, Saint-Étienne, Strasbourg and Toulouse. These zones are set to expand in the future to cover all 43 cities with more than 150,000 inhabitants by 2025.

These areas are prioritized for the deployment of EPZs because of the concentration of population and therefore of cars, but also because of their public transport infrastructure, which facilitates the implementation of traffic restrictions for the most polluting vehicles.

The impact of EPZs on mobility

Based on the Crit’Air classification of vehicles, mobility restrictions within EPZs are decided at the local level by prefects. It can therefore be complicated to know which rules apply from one EPZ to another.

A common objective

The objective of these low-emission zones is to significantly reduce air pollution and thus reduce the death rate caused by poor air quality. Indeed, it is estimated that about 40,000 people die each year in France because of air pollution*. It is therefore essential to limit the cause of this premature mortality by introducing restrictive rules. In figures, the agglomerations concerned must reduce their air pollution by 40% by 2025.

The most polluting vehicles are to disappear

Initially, only vehicles without Crit’Air stickers and with Crit’Air 5 stickers are affected by the mobility restrictions in low-emission zones. In the Greater Paris area, these restrictions already extend to Crit’Air 4 certified vehicles. Beware, however, that the Greater Paris area is ahead of the other agglomerations that will follow suit if their air quality does not improve.

What traffic restrictions?

Due to a lack of consistency in restrictions, there is no clear answer to this question.

Here are the main rules that may apply:

  • Complete traffic restriction for polluting vehicles
  • Traffic bans in specific areas within the EPZ,
  • Travel restrictions on peak pollution days,
  • Travel restrictions during defined time slots.


In order not to be limited in your travels, the solution is to anticipate the upcoming restrictions and opt for a clean vehicle. To do this, you can benefit from state and regional subsidies that can complement national financial aid.

At Stations-e, we support motorists who have opted for an electric vehicle by offering local recharging stations. Moreover, as an e-Card holder, you benefit from advantageous rates on our entire network of charging stations.

You are now informed about the low emission zones, see you soon on the roads!

* Source : Study by Santé publique France « Pollution de l’air ambiant, nouvelles estimations de son impact sur la santé des française », 202