The RAC is urging
UK motorists driving to Paris, Lyon and Grenoble this Easter to order recently
introduced vehicle emissions stickers as soon as possible after it took six
weeks for one to reach the UK.
The Crit’Air scheme, which was brought into force in January by the
French authorities to tackle pollution, requires all vehicles - cars, lorries,
motorbikes and buses - to display a windscreen sticker, or vignette, according
to how much they pollute.
cost £3.60 (€4.18) each including postage, come in six categories and cover the
very cleanest electric or hydrogen-powered vehicles (Crit’Air green sticker) to
the dirtiest (Crit’Air 5 grey sticker). These relate to the six European Union
emission standards for cars - dating back to 1992 when Euro1 was introduced.
The penalty for failure to display a sticker is an on-the-spot fine of between
€68-135 (£58 to £117).
In order to test
the efficiency of the system the RAC ordered a vignette from the official
Crit’Air website - www.certificat-air.gouv.fr/ - on 6 February and it arrived six weeks later on 16
March, despite the letter being dated 2 March. The website states that stickers
should be delivered within 30 days.
RAC European breakdown spokesman Simon Williams said: “We ordered an
‘anti-pollution’ sticker as a test shortly after the English-language site went
live and worryingly it took a full six weeks to turn up. As a result we are now
concerned that anyone who orders one now for a trip that will take them into
the centre of Paris, Lyon or Grenoble this Easter will not receive it in time
and may be at risk of an unwanted encounter with the French authorities.
“We strongly urge
people planning to drive to these cities at May half-term to order their
stickers now to avoid any issues.
“We would hope the
French police would not fine anyone that has ordered a sticker and has email
proof of that. However, those motorists who don’t order stickers are in danger
of being fined up to £117, although we understand the police will be lenient in
the early days, particularly with foreign drivers.
about the progress of their stickers can track their orders on the Government’s
official Crit’Air website.”
To apply for a
sticker online drivers must know their vehicle’s European Emissions Standard.
Information on working that out can be found on the RAC’s website. For newer
vehicles, covered by Euro5 and Euro6 standards, the category may be in section
D2 of the DVLA V5C registered keeper form. For older vehicles, motorists will
need to find out when their vehicle was manufactured and check it with the
emissions bands on the above webpage.
Mr Williams added:
“The best advice for motorists ordering their stickers is to make sure they use
the French Government website as there are third party operators offering the
same service but for significantly more money.
point to be aware of is around the requirement to upload an image of the vehicle’s
V5C registered keeper form as the file size can only be a maximum of 400kb
which isn’t very big at all. Drivers may therefore have to change their scanner
settings or reduce the file size after scanning.”
The new Crit’Air
system is used on high pollution days to prevent the worst polluting vehicles
from driving in the affected cities. In the future, however, vehicles may be
banned from driving in Crit’Air areas on certain days based on which emissions sticker
In addition, some
vehicles have not been assigned a category and are therefore unable to drive in
Paris between 8am and 8pm, Monday to Friday. Typically, they are older models,
such as cars registered before 1997, motorbikes and scooters from before June
2000, and trucks and buses from before 2001. Based on the pre-1997 criteria,
the RAC understands that one in 10 (9%) French vehicles are too old to get a
Prior to the
Crit’Air system being introduced on several heavy pollution days in Paris the
authorities banned vehicles from driving in the city based on whether their
number plates were odd or even. Paris, along with Madrid, Athens and Mexico
City also have wider plans to ban all diesel vehicles from the city by 2025.
The RAC says that
a further 22 other French towns and cities may decide to introduce the Crit’Air
system by 2020.
about the Crit’Air scheme can be found at: http://www.rac.co.uk/drive/news/motoring-news/law-change-for-uk-drivers-in-french-cities/