Le sting! French to f ine you £117 if car has no ‘green’ sticker
TOURISTS driving to France this Easter face a £117 fine if they fail to display a car sticker giving the vehicle’s emissions.
As of yesterday, all drivers who visit Paris, Lyon and Grenoble must show the certificate on their windscreen, which states the vehicle’s age, engine size and the level of dangerous gases it emits.
The new environmental rules also mean cars more than 20 years old will be banned from driving through the three French cities altogether on certain days.
The ‘Crit’Air’ scheme issues stickers in six colours, running from a green sticker for hydrogen-powered vehicles to a grey sticker for the most polluting.
Twenty-two other towns and cities, including Lille, Cannes and Dunkirk, may roll out the scheme in the future to cut down on harmful exhaust fumes.
However, at the moment, the stickers are only required for drivers travelling to Paris, Lyon and Grenoble. Tourists driving elsewhere in France do not need them.
The RAC has said it has been inundated with calls from frantic holidaymakers who have struggled to buy a sticker – blaming problems with the French government’s website and administrative delays.
Drivers say the official website is difficult to navigate and requires a raft of information about their vehicle.
British tourists can only apply online, and must supply their vehicle’s identification number, insurance policy number, the vehicle title and registration details.
The stickers, which can only be bought from the official French government website cer-tificat-air.gouv.fr, cost €4.80 each – around £4.10 – including postage to the UK. And even after applying, Britons face a six-week wait for it to arrive, as the department has been flooded with applications.
The French government says anyone whose sticker does not arrive in the post before their holiday should print off a copy of the confirmation email of their purchase to show to police, if stopped. Police can issue on-the-spot fines of up to €135 (£117) if they see a car without one.
Vehicles deemed too polluting – including all petrol and diesel cars registered before January 1, 1997 – will be banned from the cities entirely between 8am and 8pm Monday to Friday. Others will be barred on days of high air pollution.
Reader Jean Phillips, 66, of Worcester Park, Surrey, said she spent 90 minutes trying to get a sticker before giving up.
She said: ‘I used to work in IT but we just cannot attach the document because it’s too large. We are completely stuck. I am amazed anyone ever gets to the end of the form.’
Simon Williams, of the RAC, said: ‘The RAC travel team has been dealing with hundreds of calls from members asking for help with their applications. [They] can be quite a challenge, even for anyone who is reasonably IT literate.’