Drivers travelling to Paris, Lyon and Grenoble this Easter and in the coming months are being urged to order recently introduced vehicle emissions stickers as soon as possible after it took six weeks for one to reach the UK, according to RAC.
The Crit’Air scheme, which was brought into force in January by the French authorities to tackle pollution, requires all vehicles - cars, commercial vehicles, motorbikes and buses - to display a windscreen sticker, or vignette, according to how much they pollute.
Stickers, which cost £3.60 (€4.18) each including postage, come in six categories and cover the very cleanest electric or hydrogen-powered vehicles (Crit’Air green sticker) to the dirtiest (Crit’Air 5 grey sticker). They relate to the six European Union emission standards for cars - dating back to 1992 when Euro1 was introduced. The penalty for failure to display a sticker is an on-the-spot fine of between €68-135 (£58 to £117).
RAC European breakdown spokesman Simon Williams said: “We are concerned that anyone who orders one now for a trip that will take them into the centre of Paris, Lyon or Grenoble this Easter will not receive it in time and may be at risk of an unwanted encounter with the French authorities. We strongly urge people planning to drive to these cities to order their stickers now to avoid any issues.
“Motorists who don’t order stickers are in danger of being fined up to £117, although we understand the police will be lenient in the early days.”
The new Crit’Air system is used on high pollution days to prevent the worst polluting vehicles from driving in the affected cities. The RAC says that a further 22 other French towns and cities may decide to introduce the Crit’Air system by 2020.