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The French Government has introduced vehicle emission controls in the form of clean air stickers called Crit'Air vignettes. These are part of a six-category sticker system that applies to all motor vehicles in certain areas to identify what emissions they produce.

The six categories have six colours that denote vehicle emission against European standards, ranging from green for the cleanest, to black for the dirtiest.

Why have they been introduced? The system has been introduced to reduce the emissions output in larger cities, so on days where certain cities are at risk of reaching their Euro emissions limit, heavily polluting vehicles can be refused entrance.

What areas do they affect? The stickers are currently only in use in Paris, Lyon and Grenoble.

What vehicles do they affect? The Crit’Air initiative applies to all cars, motorbikes and lorries and affects both French residents and foreign visitors.

How long do they last? Once purchased, the vignettes last the life of the vehicle or until they are no longer legible.

Application for Sticker. Apply on-line via the official Crit’Air website at www.certificat-air.gouv.fr/en/. The site provides further detail and is available in English. Application to delivery will take 30+ days, so apply well in advance of travel.

Cost. €4.80 (including postage to Germany)

Failure to display. The penalty for not displaying in the locations affected is an on-the-spot fine of between €68 and €135.

Official Vehicles. BFG White Fleet vehicles are not exempt. Personnel travelling to the affected areas on official business are to liaise with TSU(G) well in advance of their journey.

Scope. It is anticipated that other large French towns and cities will adopt the scheme in the future.