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The ZPA Air Protection Zone of Lyon

Already since 12.12.2016, a ZPA air protection zone (Zone de Protection de l’Air) was introduced in Lyon. Initially, driving bans were imposed on the basis of the Crit’Air Vignette and the even-odd license plate regulation.
Even in the event of an air pollution peak, vehicles without a Crit’Air badge were excluded from traffic. Vehicles with insufficient Crit’Air badge class were excluded according to their registration plate (for example, even plates were allowed to drive one day, and odd plates another day). Vehicles with sufficient Crit’Air badge class were still allowed to drive.
On 16.11.2017, an order was signed by the Prefecture of the French Department of the Rhône, which contains measures to apply in case of an air pollution peak.

On 17.11.2017, the prefecture announced these measures in a press release. This ZPA air protection zone will come into effect only upon a weather related announcement by the competent prefect. Vehicles are no longer excluded from traffic as before due to their even or odd number plates, but only on the basis of the Crit’Air badge classes, in order to reduce the number of polluting vehicles in circulation in the event of an air pollution peak. The Crit’Air badge classes 4 and 5 as well as the vehicles without a badge could be affected by driving bans.

Lyon is located in the Department of Rhône (no. 69), in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region. The district town counts over 513,000 inhabitants on an area of about 48 km², where the prefect also resides.
In order to be prepared for any pollution peak, a temporary environmental zone (ZPA) has been introduced in Lyon, which became mandatory from 23.11.2017 for all vehicles in the event of persistent air pollution, in accordance with the prefectural order N°69-2017-11-16-002 of 16.11.2017.

Lyon viewed from above

Any violation of the badge requirement or traffic restrictions will be punished with a fine from 68 up to 375 euros; if paying directly on site a little less. These fines are based on the articles L.325-1 to L.325-3 and R.411-19 of the French Road Traffic Code.

In case of an air pollution peak, measures will be enforced, divided into several phases. After a pre-warning with no impact on road traffic, the first air pollution alarm is activated. This occurs if, based on the daily or hourly measurement of the responsible institution for air quality, the emission level of 50/80 μg/m³ for particulate matter or 180/240 μg/m³ for ozone or 300/500 μg/m³ for sulphur dioxide or 200/400 μg/m³ for nitrogen dioxide has been exceeded. As a result, the road speed within the ZPA environmental zones has to be reduced by 20 km/h.
If, in the following days, one of the abovementioned pollutant values still exceeds the indicated values, then traffic restrictions can be applied to all vehicles. Then, vehicles without a Crit’Air Vignette as well as vehicles with insufficient badge classes can be excluded.

The Borders of the Environmental Zone of Lyon

All roads within the cities of Lyon and Villeurbanne belong to the territory of the ZPA air protection zone of Lyon. The main axes A6, A7, A42 as well as the A6 tunnel through the Fourvière Hill, and some secondary roads listed on page 7 of the prefectural order N°69-2017-11-16-002, are banned from traffic.

Table overview of the environmental zone

Name of the environmental zone:
Environmental zone ZPA Lyon - France
Date of entry into effect of the zone:
Type of environmental zone:
Zone of air protection, depending on weather conditions and activated after an early warning stage, if the pollutant values exceed, for example, > 50 µg/m³ for particulate matter and following the prefect’s decision.
Current obligation to drive with a badge:
Cyclomotor/Motorcyle (L1e), Motorcycle (L3e), Motorcycles with sidecars (L4e), Tricycles (L2e), Fast tricycle (L5e), Light four-wheeled vehicle (L6e), Four wheeled vehicle (L7e), Car (M1), Motor home (M1), Heavy motor home (M1), Minibus (M2), Coach (M3), Van (N1), Delivery truck (N2), Light truck (N2) and Heavy truck (N3) Depending on the duration and intensity of the air pollution peak.
Badge classes allowed after 23-11-2017:
Class E, Class 1, Class 2, Class 3, Class 4, Class 5 and No Crit’Air Vignette (cleanest class = E and 1).
Future restrictions planned for badge classes:
Information currently unavailable
From 68 to 375 euros.
Area/extension of the environmental zone:
All roads within the cities of Lyon and Villeurbanne belong to the territory of the ZPA air protection zone of Lyon. The main axes A6, A7, A42 as well as the A6 tunnel through the Fourvière Hill are banned from traffic.
Order here a French Crit'Air Vignette for French ZCR/ZPA zones