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Numerous cities have set up or decreed environment zones to reduce pollution in their city centres. Vehicles with particularly bad exhaust values such as old diesel vehicles without particle filter systems and vehicles with petrol engine and an insufficient exhaust cleansing (regulated catalyser) are not allowed to drive in the environment zones.
The zones polluted by emissions are designated with the sign “Umweltzone”. A supplementary sign shows which vehicles with which sticker are allowed to drive in the environment zone. Initially, the driving ban only applied to vehicles without a sticker or with a red sticker. In the meantime, only low-emission vehicles or motor vehicles with special rights may drive into the designated zones.
The term “particulate matter (PM10)/ fine dust” refers to the particles produced by a combustion process, for example. This also produces harmful gases such as sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and ammoniac. The German Federal Environment Agency (UBA) annually measures the particulate matter concentrations in Germany and demands stricter limit values. Further data and evaluations can be found here.
The badge must be attached to the inside of the windscreen at the lower right-hand edge in order to be valid. It must not be attached anywhere in the upper part of the windscreen. A fine may be due if the environmental badge is not attached correctly.
The Vehicle Registration Regulation stipulates uniformly throughout Germany the registration of passenger and commercial vehicles according to their particle emission (fine particles emission) and allocates the vehicle to pollutant groups. This law enables cities and municipalities to set up environmental zones if the limits for particulate emission are exceeded. These measures are intended to ensure cleaner air in inner city areas and other densely trafficked areas by reducing fine particle pollution. There are four distinct pollutant emission categories. The higher the category, the lower the fine particle emission. Passenger cars, trucks and busses may be banned from certain zones. Motorcycles and three-wheeled motor vehicles are exempt, as well as other vehicles with special status (e.g. working machines, vintage cars and disability vehicles). Vehicles registered in other countries are classified on the basis of their initial registration date. Vehicles registered in Germany are classified via the emission code of the vehicle registration certificate. The classification depends on this emission code. The emission code divides the motor vehicles into different categories such as pollutant group, petrol/gas, heavy oil, passenger car/ truck, particulate reduction, etc. Depending on this categorization, it will be decided which badge your vehicle is entitled to.
Emission sticker colours: • Pollutant group 4: green • Pollutant group 3: yellow • Pollutant group 2: red You can look up more information and the exact allocation tables for your vehicle in various languages at the “Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure”: http://www.bmu.de
High fines Driving in a designated environment zone without a valid sticker or exemption permit is an administrative offence and since 1 May 2014 carries a cash fine of EUR 80.
Currently, almost all German low emission zones accept the green environmental badges only. However, the other environmental badges may well be used again in future.
An environmental badge is vehicle-tied; the vehicle registration number printed on the badge must be identical to the vehicle’s number plate. An environmental badge may not be used several times over on different vehicles.
No, you only need an environmental badge for the towing vehicle.
All motorcycles, 3-wheeled vehicles and vehicles that qualify for certain exemptions (e.g. vehicles driven by a disabled person and classic cars) do not need an environmental badge.
Checks are carried out on a regular basis. Driving without a valid badge or certificate of exemption in a low emission zone is a civil offence. Since 1 May 2014, offenders will be fined a penalty of 80 euros.
In that case, you will unfortunately have to get a new environmental badge.
Yes, attaching a counterfeit environmental badge to your vehicle is a criminal offence. You may be fined or even imprisoned.
Only a clearly legible environmental badge is a valid badge. Therefore, you have to make sure that the number plate on the badge is always clearly legible and get a replacement, if necessary.
Only a correctly displayed environmental badge showing the correct number plate and the right vehicle emission standard for that vehicle is a valid badge. An environmental badge that has not been attached to the windscreen is invalid. If the vehicle details change, i.e. you move to another address or you sell the vehicle, you must buy a new environmental badge.
No, the environmental badge relates to the vehicle’s number plate and emission standard. A correctly attached environmental badge is valid for as long as the number plate or the emission standard remain unchanged.
No, low emission zones only apply in many German city centres.
Only with emission sticker – also applies for foreign vehicles! The so-called “Kennzeichnungsverordnung” (Vehicle Registration Regulation) came into effect in Germany on 1 March 2007. This law enable cities and municipalities to set up environment zones if the emission threshold values for fine particles are exceeded. These measures are intended to ensure cleaner air in inner city areas and other densely trafficked areas by only allowing vehicles with the proper sticker to drive in these zones. In this way Germany implements EU Air Quality Directive 1999/30/EC.Order now!