14 Jul 2017
Driving in France? How to avoid a fine with a Crit’Air sticker

If you’re heading to France this summer, then there is a new legal regulation that you need to know about. It is one that if you don’t comply, even as a tourist, it could lead to an instant fine of up to £117. The regulation is called Crit’Air vignette, which is essentially is ‘clean air’ windscreen stickers.

What is a Crit’Air vignette?

Crit’Air vignette is a ‘clean air’ sticker which identifies the emissions produced by the vehicle. With the stickers, regulations can determine how heavily the vehicle pollutes the environment. The sticker can help France to adhere to their Euro emissions limit.

If cities are close to their emission limit, the labels can help the authorities to refuse entry into the city by the heaviest polluting vehicles. This means if you have a high-polluting vehicle, you could be denied entry into certain cities on certain days.

How does the Crit’Air vignette work?  

Crit’Air stickers are split into six categories based on how heavily they pollute the environment. Crit’Air (a green sticker) is denoted for electric or hydrogen-powered vehicles and those which are cleanest with their emissions filtering down to Crit’Air Five (a grey sticker) which covers older diesel cars that emit the most pollution.

Who needs a sticker?

 Ultimately, all road vehicles being used in France need a sticker. This is not just French-registered vehicles this is needed for all vehicles travelling into France.

Whether you are driving a motorbike, three-wheeler, private vehicle, commercial vehicle, van, bus, coach or heavy goods vehicle, you need a Crit’Air sticker.

When should I buy the sticker?

Implementation of the Crit’Air scheme is relatively slow with only Paris, Lyon and Grenoble following the scheme so far. However, more towns and cities will be gradually introduced to the scheme so, if you are planning a trip to France, it is wise to plan ahead and purchase your sticker now.

From 31 March 2017, all vehicles are liable to a fine if they do not have the sticker displayed in the windscreen.

Delivery of the sticker can take up to thirty days, so make sure you buy well in advance of your trip.

Where do I buy a Crit’Air vignette from and how much does it cost?

 The sticker is available from the Air Quality Certificate Service, and to apply; you need to know your vehicle’s European Emissions Standard. If you don’t know your vehicle’s emission standard, you can find the classification table and more information here.

The sticker costs around £3.60 to buy from the website and for this small fee, you could save yourself a hefty fine ranging from £58 – £117.

Don’t be fooled

 There are some websites which are selling the stickers for a much higher cost, than the official website, so buy direct and make sure you pay the lowest price possible.

Renting a vehicle for your trip to France?

 If you’re looking to hire a van or minibus for your trip to France, then get in touch with the team at CVS Van Hire by calling 020 8003 4715.