CRIT-ICAL BUT NOT YET ARMAGEDDON!
Readers of the motoring press and popular media could be forgiven for thinking that the recent extension of Paris’ Clean Air Zone (Crit’Air) to foreign registered vehicles had started some sort of motoring apocalypse. While it’s true that life’s become much more complicated for hauliers and coach operators visiting the city, for the majority of British scooterists venturing overseas there’s little impact – for now.
Clean air zone legislation was introduced in Paris on July 1, 2016 and from April 1, 2017, those laws will apply to foreign registered vehicles. In brief, any vehicle entering the Crit’Air zones in Paris, Grenoble or Lyon between the hours of 8am and 8pm must obtain and display a vignette (sticker) entering without one attracts a fine of €70. This figure’s important as in French law it’s the amount at which non-payment can be punished by imprisonment. Vehicles first registered before January 1, 1997, can’t be issued with a vignette and are forbidden from entering the zone during the day. Owners of vehicles registered after that date can apply online or purchase one locally – although the website is rather vague as to how an ‘on the day’ purchase works in practice.
Unless this year’s touring holiday revolves around photographing your classic scooter with the Eiffel Tower as a backdrop, don’t panic and enjoy the trip. However, in the long term, there’s no doubt that Crit’Air is worrying. It sits at the thin end of a wedge – being part of a growing movement that aims to control pollution by restricting the use of vehicles based on their age and engine type. There’s no doubt that cities across Europe (and the UK) are monitoring the French scheme with interest. We’ll be looking at the potential impact of this and other relevant legislation in future editions. For more info visit: www.crit-air.fr