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Low Emission Zones in Germany. Berlin, Hamburg, Stuttgart and more

German cities Low Emission Zone schemes or congestion and pollution charges. Berlin and most cities. Apply online

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


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70 cities throughout Germany are now participating in, or soon will be, the Low Emissions Zone scheme to reduce pollution. Participating cities in Germany  require all vehicles, including foreign-owned 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).

We suggest you purchase a sticker before driving to Germany as this saves the hassle of finding a sales point once you have arrived. There is a very useful and comprehensive website where you simply input your vehicle registration number, scan your vehicle registration document and upload the resultant file. You can pay the 13.95 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. 

The Czech Republic has a similar scheme for some of its cities, and the stickers whioch are valid in Germany will be accepted in the Czech Republic and vice versa.

In participating cities, Emission Badges are available from a wide range of outlets including repair centres, car dealers, MOT (TUV or DEKRA) stations and vehicle licensing offices. The stickers cost 13.95 euros, 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 schemes are currently badly thought out. It is not easy for drivers from other countries to find anything out about them, 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: There are currently 52 LEZ'z in 70 cities

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

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

Q. - Do electric vehicles (EVs) require stickers?

A.- Yes

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. Fines do vary from zone to zone and 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.

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