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The Ultimate Guide to Clean Air Zones for Motorhome Owners

If you love travelling around Europe in your motorhome, like we do,  you might have heard of clean air zones. These are areas where high polluting vehicles are restricted or charged to enter in order to improve air quality. Many European countries have introduced these zones in their towns and cities, and they have different rules and requirements for motorhome drivers. In this article, we will explain what clean air zones are, where they are located, how much they cost and how to obtain the necessary stickers or permits. We have obtained clean air zone stickers for Germany and France for our 2023 motorhome trip to Europe.

Bedoin motorhome Aire
Our motorhome in France

One of the most common systems for clean air zones in Europe is the Crit’Air Ecovignet sticker in France. This is a coloured sticker that categorises vehicles according to their emissions standard. You need to buy one online before entering any zone and stick it on your windscreen. The cost is 3.70 EUR plus postal charges, and the sticker is valid for life and for all zones. If you don’t have one, you can be fined up to 135 EUR. Motorhomes up to 3500kg are classified as cars, those above as trucks.

Clean air zones Europe
Clean air zones in Europe

French clean air zones

France has two types of clean air zones: Zones à Faibles Emissions mobilité (ZFE-m) or Low Emission Mobility Zones, and Zones de Protection de l’Air (ZPA) or Air Protection Zones. The ZFE-m zones are permanent and apply to all vehicles, while the ZPA zones are temporary and activated only when pollution levels are high. There are currently 11 ZFE-m zones in France, including Paris, Lyon, Marseille and Nice. The ZPA zones cover most of the major cities and regions. For more information about clean air zones in France click the following link to go to the official French government website

You can check a map of all the zones online

Germany clean air zones

Another common system for clean air zones in Europe is the Umweltplakette sticker in Germany. This is a coloured sticker that categorises vehicles according to their emissions standard. You need to buy one online or at a local garage before entering any zone and stick it on your windscreen. The cost varies but the clean air zone sticker can be bought for about £15, and the sticker is valid for life and for all zones. If you don’t have one, you can be fined up to 80 EUR. 

Germany has 58 low emission zones covering more than 70 cities, including Berlin, Munich, Stuttgart and Cologne. You can obtain your German clean air zone sticker from several places including this one

You can check a map of all the zones online

Italy clean air zones

Italy has a different system for clean air zones called Zona a Traffico Limitato (ZTL) or Limited Traffic Zone. These are areas where access is restricted to certain vehicles at certain times or days. You need to buy a permit online or at a local office before entering any zone and display it on your windscreen. The cost and validity of the permit vary depending on the zone. If you don’t have one, you can be fined up to 100 EUR. Motorhomes are usually not allowed in ZTL zones. For more information about driving in clean air zones in Italy click here

Italy has over 200 ZTL zones all over the country, including Rome, Florence, Milan and Venice.

Switzerland clean air zones

Switzerland has a relatively new system for clean air zones called Stick’Air stickers. These are coloured stickers that indicate the emissions standard of your vehicle. You need to buy one online or at a local office before entering any zone and stick it on your windscreen. The cost is 5 CHF, and the sticker is valid for life and for all zones. If you don’t have one, you can be fined up to 500 CHF. Motorhomes are classified as cars

Switzerland has only one clean air zone so far, which covers Geneva city centre The zone is activated only when there is a pollution peak, which is announced by signs and media. For more information about driving in clean air zones in Switzerland click here.

Spain clean air zones

Spain has a mixed system for clean air zones called Zona de Bajas Emisiones (ZBE) or Low Emission Zone. These are areas where access is restricted to certain vehicles depending on their emissions standard. You need to register your vehicle online or at a local office before entering any zone and display a sticker on your windscreen. The cost and validity of the registration vary depending on the zone. If you don’t have one, you can be fined up to 200 EUR. Motorhomes are classified as cars. Spain has five low emission zones so far, which cover Madrid, Barcelona, Seville, Valencia and Valladolid. For more information about driving in clean air zones in Spain click here . Only the zone in Barcelona is permanently valid. The other zones are activated only when there is severe air pollution.

Hope this article helps if you need more information about using your motorhome in Europe please use the AI chat button in the bottom right of your screen.

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