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POLLUTION

Paris rolls out anti-pollution stickers for all vehicles (including foreign cars)

Motorists in Paris need to slap on their "Crit'Air" stickers from Monday - or risk fines. Here's what you need to know.

Paris rolls out anti-pollution stickers for all vehicles (including foreign cars)
Photos: AFP
Why the stickers?
 
The stickers are the latest attempt from Paris authorities to crack down on pollution, essentially by stopping old polluting cars from driving at peak times.
 
And it's high time Paris took air pollution seriously, recording several spikes over the past two months that prompted traffic restrictions and free public transport.
 
 
What colour sticker should I have?
 
There are six categories and colours, depending on the year of the vehicle's registration, its energy efficiency, and the vehicle's emission quantity.
 
The stickers range from “green” for electric or Hydogen vehicles, to a level 5 sticker for the most polluting vehicles. 
 
Here's a look at the stickers together with the full descriptions (or download the English PDF version here). 
 
 
Hang on, I can't see my vehicle in the list above…
 
Some vehicles aren't assigned to any category, meaning they're banned from driving in the city from Monday to Friday between 8am and 8pm.  
 
These include any that are registered from earlier than 1997, scooters and motorbikes from before June 1st 2000, and trucks and buses from before 2001. 
 
What happens if I don't have one?
 
You should have yours up by Monday the 16th of January. The stickers were released on July 1st last year, so you've had over six months to get one. 
 
Police may be generous with a grace period considering people have been slow to put theirs up so far, but they won't stay gracious forever. 
 
Fines start at €68, so there's no point in risking it. And foreign vehicles aren't excluded, the City Hall said. 

Top city transport official Christophe Najdovski has said that police will target vehicles with no stickers when they're pulling people over. You've been warned!

 
 
 
So how do the stickers actually work?
 
Before these stickers, authorities would simply ban half of the vehicles in Paris from driving whenever pollution levels were too high. 
 
The bans were rolled out based on whether a registration plate included an odd or even number. 
 
This system didn't really work, because even the ultra-polluting vehicles were still on the roads half the time. Many people also ignored the bans, which of course may still happen with the new stickers. 
 
From Monday, pollution spikes will see authorities restricting traffic by banning those with various coloured stickers. 
 
They'll start by banning level 5 vehicles – which are the most polluting – then they'll move downwards from there. The bans will apply for anywhere inside the peripherique ring road. 
 
Grenoble in south eastern France has said it will also roll out the sticker system. 
 
Why don't I have a sticker?
 
Probably because you haven't ordered one. Here's the site where you can select your sticker and have it sent to your home for around €4.
 
Safe driving. 
 

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POLLUTION

Paris faces legal claim over lead pollution from Notre-Dame fire

Paris authorities have been accused of failing to safeguard the health of people living near Notre-Dame cathedral due to lead pollution from a devastating fire two years ago.

Paris faces legal claim over lead pollution from Notre-Dame fire
A complaint has been lodged over lead pollution in Paris from the devastating fire at Notre Dame cathedral Photo: Fabien Barrau | AFP

Local families along with the Paris branch of the CGT trade union and the anti-pollution association Henri Pezerat, have filed the legal complaint alleging city and public health authorities endangered lives.

“Despite the scale of the fire and knowledge about the risk of pollution and contamination… no precaution in particular was taken by the authorities involved for more than three months after the fire,” according to a copy of the complaint seen by AFP.

It says 400 tonnes of lead from the roof of the Gothic masterpiece melted or were dispersed as microparticles over the French capital during the blaze on April 15, 2019.

“Children (in crèches and schools), neighbours and workers have clearly been exposed to the risk of lead” pollution, the complaint adds. “These facts amount to the crime of endangering the lives of others.”

The square in front of the cathedral was closed again to the public in May this year after tests revealed high concentrations of toxic lead particles.

Several months after the fire, city authorities ordered a deep-clean of schools in the area, while children and pregnant women were urged to have blood tests.

The complaint says the city withheld information from school directors and failed to act promptly. It also targets the police department, the culture ministry and regional health authorities.

The efforts of firefighters ensured the great medieval edifice survived the fire despite the collapse of the spire and much of the roof being destroyed.

But the lead risks delayed work on clearing debris and launching the restoration effort for the landmark, which President Emmanuel Macron wants open for visitors in time for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

Investigators have yet to determine the cause of the blaze, but they have said an accident, possibly caused by a short circuit or discarded cigarette butt, remains the most likely explanation.

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