The ZPA environmental zone Lille

As of June 1, 2017, a ZPA environmental zone will be introduced in the metropolitan area of Lille. This ZPA zone will only be activated in the case of an air pollution peak. The potential air pollution peaks will be announced – as in the case of other ZPA zones in France – by the responsible prefect of the region (département). In the case of Lille, this would be the prefect of the Département North, who would signal the alarm when the fine dust particles and nitrogen oxide emission values exceed the limit of 80 µg/m³.

In this ZPA zone, the Crit’Air vignette is obligatory for all types of vehicles (trucks, buses, private vehicles, light utility vehicles, and light vehicles of two or three wheels).
The prefect decides, depending on the level of air pollution, which colors of vignette (i.e., which categories) are allowed to drive in the zone during the air pollution peak and which are not. In general, it will be the case that vignettes 5 and eventually 4 will be excluded from accessing the zone. If pollution worsens, then the prefect can additionally decide that higher vignette categories shall also be excluded from traffic. This means that a temporary exclusion of even and odd plate numbers is possible.
As soon as the air pollution peak retreats, that is, when the emissions values are again under the established limits for the alarm stage, the prefect will cancel the ZPA zone. The previously valid traffic restrictions and circulation bans will no longer be valid at this point.

Every infringe against this measure will be punished with a contravention of the 2nd class, which means by a financial fine of 35 Euros, according to the articles L.325-1 to L.325-3 and R. 411-19 of the French traffic regulation code.

The extension of the ZPA environmental zone of Lille

The ZPA environmental zone in Lille entails 648 km², encompassing the whole metropolitan area of Lille. This affects 89 cities and municipalities with 1.14 million inhabitants. You can find an overview of the affected cities and municipalities here.

In the eastern and northern area, the ZPA environmental zone is limited by the French-Belgian border. In the southern and western area, through the borders of the metropolitan area.
The following highways are located inside the environmental zone: Highway A25 (from Dunkerque) and the A22 from Lille and toward Ghent; the A27 from Lille to Brussels as well as the A1 to Paris and the A23 to Valenciennes.

It is of particular importance to note that most traffic coming from Brussels or Ghent goes mostly toward the Calais tunnel through the highway A25 and A27, thus having to cross the ZPA zone of Lille.