The ZPA air protection zone of Vendée / La Roche-sur-Yon
On 03.10.2017, an order was signed by the Prefect of the Department of Vendée introducing the Crit´Air Vignette within the department. The order contains a set of measures that can be applied in case of an air pollution peak to certain vehicle types and EURO classes. However, the peculiarity lies in the fact that, in the event of an air pollution peak, only the city or municipality within the department is described, in which the weather-dependent zone comes into force. A ZPAd (zone de protection de l'air départementale) is no local or regional air protection zone with clearly defined limits (ZPA), it applies to a whole department where driving restrictions can be temporary imposed. This requires a separate individual notification from the prefect or a representative. As a result, there can only be locally changing traffic restrictions within the ZPAd Vendée, to which the car owners must adapt.
Vendée (Department n° 85) is one of 5 Departments in the Pays de la Loire region and has 667.000 inhabitants on approximately 6,800 km². La Roche-sur-Yon with 54,000 inhabitants on an area of 88 km² is the district town of Vendée, where the Prefect has its seat.
According to the regional institution for air quality "Air Pays de Loire" ("Airpl"), the main pollution problem in the region is due to nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter, sulphur dioxide and ozone. Therefore, in accordance with the prefectural order n°17/CAB-SIDPC/542, a temporary environmental zone has now been introduced, which becomes mandatory for all vehicles in case of persistent air pollution.
Any violation of the badge requirement or traffic restrictions will be punished with a fine of 68 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, the Prefecture provides a set of measures in several stages. After an early warning phase, a first air pollution alarm stage is announced. This happens when the daily or hourly measurement of the responsible institution for air quality exceeds 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. As a result, the road speed within the ZPAd environmental zone has to be reduced by 20 km/h.
If one of the above-mentioned pollutant values still exceeds the stated values, then a second stage will be applied immediately or in the required times. Optional measures such as traffic restrictions can follow. The regulation can occur on the Crit’Air Vignette basis (“circulation différentiée”). Another type of regulation might also be implemented (“circulation alternée”), which enables cars to drive or not depending on their even or odd registration number.
Special rules for pollution levels
Usually, the Cirt’Air badge categories excluded from the traffic in case of pollution peak are mentioned in the prefectural order. In Vendée, the different restrictions will be announced in case of pollution peak only. The regulations may enable all cars having a Crit’Air badge to drive (banning the other ones), or be more restrictive and exclude some specific Crit’Air categories too. However, the Crit´Air badge classes E, 1 and 2 are not likely to be affected by traffic restrictions.
The borders of the environmental zone of Vendée
Generally, the border of a ZPAd zone in France is set in the prefectural order.
In this case, the entire area of the Department of Vendée may be affected. In case of an air pollution peak, the exact extension of the zone affected by traffic restrictions will be defined in a specific release, which can be issued within a day.
In any case, it should be noted that, in the event of an air pollution alarm, the highways A83 (between Nantes and Niort) and A87 (between Angers and Les Sables-d’Olonne), may be affected.
Table overview of the environmental zone
What are ZCR, ZPA and ZPAd environmental zones in France?
What are ZCR, ZPA and ZPAd environmental zones in France and how do they work? What does this mean for foreign drivers and how the Green-Zones app be of help? You can find the answers in the menu under French environmental zones.