How the future low-emission zone can be set up and exclude old vehicles

When will car traffic be restricted? The metropolis of Lille (MEL) suffered, on Thursday, the first episode of air pollution of the year, recalling that in 2019, its elected officials had voted the principle of a low emission zone (ZFE) concerning eleven municipalities and several large Main highways.

As a reminder, the ZFE aims to prohibit access to certain axes for vehicles deemed to be the most polluting, in order to lower the carbon footprint. According to a feasibility study carried out by the French leader in engineering, Egis, criterion 5 vehicles (the oldest) represent 2 to 3% of the car fleet and those of criterion 4 (slightly less polluting), between 10 and 12%. Around 15% of households would thus be affected by the measure.

Deployment suspended to a decision of the State

However, since the 2019 vote, the concrete implementation of the project has been delayed, while there are already four ZFEs in France (metropolises of Lyon and Strasbourg, Grenoble, Greater Paris). In October, the elected environmentalists of the MEL returned to the charge, coming up against the refusal of the executive to reopen the file. “The MEL must now adjust its pace to the brand new legal framework set by the Climate and Resilience law”, argued metaphorically Sébastien Leprêtre, Vice-President (DVD) for Mobility.

This decision means, clearly, that the deployment of this ZFE remains subject to a decision by the State. Contacted by 20 minutes, the Ministry of Ecological Transition specified that a decree on the subject should be issued “in the coming weeks”. So what are the sticking points?

“In Manchester and Brussels, cities with which we collaborated, there was a need, so the project was imposed, but in stages, explains Laurent Rousseau, head of the mobility department at Egis. In these cities, the debate on possible compensation, for example, never took place. On the other hand, the municipalities have offered support for newcomers with free subscriptions to public transport for a certain period. »

Help on existing means of transport

And the engineer also mentioned a study carried out on a citizen panel of around thirty people, in Bordeaux. “None mentioned the slightest request for money to compensate for the purchase of a new car,” he says. On the other hand, the question of aid for existing means of transport arose. »

But to see the birth of a ZFE at the MEL, it remains to evacuate a final debate on the way to control the respect of the device. “At the MEL, additional staff would be needed to ensure this control, notes Laurent Rousseau. And the people in charge tell us that it is not currently a priority. It’s a shame, because the longer we delay, the more we miss the environmental branding effect of such a measure. »

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