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Can we move around in case of a pollution spike?

Verified 26 December 2019 - Directorate for Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister)

This depends on the level of pollution and the measures taken to restrict traffic.

What level of pollution does a traffic restriction entail?

Two levels are set in case pollution episode ::

  • Information and recommendation threshold :: the level of pollution has limited and transitory effects on the health of certain sensitive persons (pregnant women, children, elderly, etc.). If this threshold is reached, the prefect makes recommendations to reduce emissions. If the pollution episode persists, it may take urgent and binding measures.
  • Alert threshold :: the level of pollution poses a risk to the health of the population as a whole or to the environment. If the alert threshold is reached, the prefect may take binding emergency measures.

What can be done?

The prefect shall define the areas concerned and may decide in particular on the following measures:

  • Recommended traffic moderation
  • Reduction of maximum permitted speeds
  • Differentiated traffic based on air quality certificates

The measures shall be applied progressively in the light of changes in the peak pollution.

In case of differentiated traffic, the Prefect shall specify the categories of vehicles prohibited from driving and any derogations.

In all cases, vehicles without an air quality certificate or whose air quality certificate corresponds to the most polluting categories shall be prohibited from driving.

Any driver of a particular vehicle who does not comply with traffic restriction measures shall be punished by a fine of up to €450..


even outside peak pollution levels, a community may establish a low-emission mobility area (LFA) open only to Crit'air vehicles.. The ZFE replaced the restricted area (ZCR). Unlike the CRZ, it is mandatory to establish an EFA when air quality standards are not regularly met. The communities concerned have until 31 December 2020 to set it up.

How do you know?

The road signs inform you if it has been decided to reduce the maximum speeds allowed or to divert traffic.

For other traffic restrictions, the information must be broadcast in the media the day before 7pm.

Air quality information is updated daily on the following websites:

To find out if differentiated traffic has been decided on in your territory, you can consult the V serviceatmospheric igilance ::

Atmospheric Vigilance Card: check measures in place in your department

Also check the website of your prefecture to find out about the departmental plan for managing pollution peaks.

Measures concerning free public transport may be provided for.

Who shall I contact