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Driving holidays in Europe - Plan your self-drive motoring holiday

Low Emission Zones in Europe.
Vehicle emission LEZ regulations, emission sticker and pollution badge requirements and locations

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low emission zone germany italy europe zones lez32 Cities throughout Germany and a number in Northern Italy are now participating in, or soon will be, the Low Emissions Zone scheme to reduce pollution. London has its own LEZ but so far this does not apply to private cars. Participating cities in Germany  require all vehicles, including cars, to display a windscreen sticker confirming that the vehicle meets the necessary emission standards. The stickers come in different colours which correspond to road signs. If your vehicle does not display the right colour sticker you can be fined 40 euros on-the-spot. In Germany the stickers are known as Umwelt Plakette (Emission Badges).

The information on this page is relevant to Germany. At the time of writing we can find no information on the LEZs in Northern Italy. Any information on Italian LEZs or any others in Europe would be gratefully received at

We suggest you purchase a sticker before driving to Germany as this saves the hassle of finding a sales point once you have arrived. It has recently become easier to do this following the launch of the Berlin City Environmental Zone Sticker website where you simply input your vehicle registration number, scan your vehicle registration document and upload the resultant file. You can pay the 6 euro fee by credit card. As with stickers purchased anywhere in Germany they are valid for the life of the vehicle and for use in any German Low Emission Zone.

 Another website offering online application forms and which also offers information on LEZs in other European countries is There is an application form for German permits here.
You still need to print out the form and send it together with 12.5 euro.

In participating cities, Emission Badges are available from a wide range of outlets including repair centres, car dealers, MOT (Tüv or DEKRA) stations and vehicle licensing offices. The stickers cost between 5 and 10 euros, depending on where you buy them, and are valid for the life of the vehicle and anywhere in Germany. You will need to produce the Vehicle Registration Document and the latest MOT certificate (if applicable). The easiest way to obtain a sticker is simply to visit any Vehicle Garage that is a testing station for TUV or DEKRA, of which there are many.  

Our personal opinion is that although we support any attempt to improve the environment, the scheme is currently badly thought out. It is not easy for drivers from other countries to find anything out about the German (not to mention the Italian) scheme, and we guess many drivers will find themselves in breach of the regulations through ignorance. The solution, it seems to us, is a Europe-wide scheme where stickers can be obtained in any country and would be valid throughout the EU.

Green Zones: The German cities participating in the Enviromental Green Zone scheme are currently -

Berlin, Cologne, Dortmund, Hanover, Ilsfeld, Leonberg, Ludwigsburg, Mannheim, Reutlingen, Schwäbisch-Gmünd, Stuttgart, Tübingen

July 2008: Frankfurt am Main (not confirmed), Regensburg (not confirmed)

October 2008: Munich.

January 2009: Nuremberg

January 2010: Darmstadt, Freiburg, Heidelberg, Karlsruhe, Mühlacker, Pforzheim, Pleidelsheim

Dates TBA.: Augsburg, Braunschweig, Dresden, Duesseldorf, Essen, Leipzig, Magdeburg, Ruhr Area, Ulm

Q. - Will my vehicle be examined when applying for a Emission Badge?

A. - Your vehicle maybe looked at very briefly by an engineer, this is purely to establish the age and type of engine.

Q.- What do the colour categories represent?

A.- The four colour categories are directly linked to the European emission standards, these are sets of requirements defining the acceptable limits for exhaust emissions of new vehicles sold in EU member states. Euro 2 is Red, Euro 3 Orange and Euro 4 Green. Petrol vehicles with a catalytic converter are always Euro 4 and will automatically be entitled to a green badge.

Q.- Which vehicles will not be able to claim a badge?

A.- Vehicles without a catalytic converter or a particulate filter.

Q.- What can I do if a badge is refused?

A.- Failed, red or orange badge holders should upgrade their vehicles with a catalytic converter, or for diesel engines a particulate filter. Most upgraded vehicles will be able to claim a green badge which is necessary for entering a green zone in 2010.

Q.- How is the scheme enforced?

A.- Anyone caught with out a valid Emission Badge within a Low Emission Zone, either on the move or parking, will be fined €40. Enforcement will be managed by the police, local authorities and traffic wardens.

All information on this page is provided as a service to our clients. It is intended as a guide to the more important rules for the different countries to which we offer driving holidays. It is not meant to be a comprehensive document. We try and keep the information on this page up-to-date, but we cannot be held responsible in any way for any consequences arising from any inaccuracies. If you find a mistake or would like to send us some additional information, please email us. Your co-operation is appreciated.