Driving in France

Crit'Air Stickers: What you need to know to prevent hefty fines

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In 2014 more than 4.2 million British Motorists decided to travel abroad via car (RAC Driving Abroad Report 2014) so it’s little wonder that driving in France is common practice for many holidaymakers travelling from the UK. In recent months, some new rules have come into practice that affect Britons driving in France. The most recent of these is the introduction of CritAir stickers. These ‘certificates of emissions’ are indicative of the movement in France towards a more environmentally conscious way of life, and if you’re not displaying one correctly you could be landed with a fine of up to £117.

What is the Crit’Air sticker?

So, what are these stickers and how do you get one for your car? The ‘Air Quality Certificate’ is a clear indication to officials on the road of the age and condition of your car and how much it is polluting the atmosphere. Your vehicle will be classed in one of six categories according to its European Emissions Standard and a corresponding sticker issued to you.

If you have a particularly old car or one that emits lots of emissions you’ll be restricted on the days and times that you can drive in the designated cities. And on days where these cities are expected to reach their Euro Emissions limit, these cars could be refused entry altogether. Not particularly helpful if you’re trying to get from A to B in your 1980s Ford Capris, but hats off to the French for stepping up their environmentalist game.

Is it just cars or other vehicles too?

The new rule doesn’t just apply to cars either, if you’re the driver of any road vehicle you’ll be liable, that includes two and three-wheeled vehicles, quadricycles, private vehicles, commercial vehicles, heavy goods vehicles, buses and coaches.

driving in france
An official classification table from the French Air Quality Certificate Service website https://www.certificat-air.gouv.fr/en/

 

Currently, the sticker is only required in Grenoble, Paris and Lyon, so how is this new initiative being enforced? It was introduced in January 2017, and it was reported that French police were lenient until March towards motorists driving in France and specifically in these cities without a CritAir sticker. Since then, they’re expecting drivers to display the correct sticker of face a fine of between £58-£117.

How do I get a Crit’Air Sticker?

It’s simple to apply for a CritAir sticker, just make sure you leave yourself plenty of time, as they can take up to six weeks to be delivered. Head over to the official CritAir website to complete your registration; make sure you have your V5 document to hand, as you’ll need the date that your car was registered and the VIN number and upload it as an attachment too. The sticker costs €4.80 and should be displayed in your windscreen when driving in Paris, Lyon and Grenoble.

Beware of counterfeits!

Watch out though, the RAC has already identified some counterfeit sites selling CritAir stickers at extremely inflated prices, only the official CritAir website should be used. Get prepared for driving in France and don’t get caught out, for less than the cost of a London pint you’ll be covered. Go to the official air quality certificate website now and register your car before driving in France. And if you’re travelling in the next six weeks don’t panic – simply have a print-out of the payment and registration confirmation handy in your car during your trip, happy driving!