what are they, why are they criticized?

Haro about “ZFE”. The National Rally will set the agenda for the Assembly on Thursday, January 12, in the parliamentary niche. Especially in the program: abolition of “low-emission mobility zones” which are mandatory from the 1st yearer January in the largest cities of France.

The car: “Makes perfect ecological sense, but makes all technological exceptions”

“With low emission zones (ZFE), millions of our compatriots will be deprived of freedom of movement. This hatred of our humblest fellow citizens should arouse national outrage! »Marine Le Pen, president of the half-cycle RN group, protested at the end of October.

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• What are EPZs?

These ZFEs already belong to eleven agglomerations with a population of 150,000 or more (Paris, Lyon, Aix-Marseille, Toulouse, Nice, Montpellier, Strasbourg, Grenoble, Rouen, Reims and Saint-Étienne) and by 2025, 43 of them should include .

In these low emission zones, the circulation of the most polluting vehicles is restricted. Obviously, from the 1st yearer In January, around 2.5 million cars, or 6% of the national fleet, could no longer circulate in France’s main cities. An additional 3.7 million vehicles will be affected in 2024. In 2025, three-quarters of the existing car park will be banned from entering big cities.

Is hunting polluting cars antisocial?

Each community is free to define the perimeter, criteria and conditions of access to its ZFE. Depending on the agglomerations, they are not homogeneous. Thus, the ZFE may be constant or may depend on conditions such as pollution peaks or days of the week.

Specifically, to enter these areas, drivers, cyclists and other motorists must travel with a Crit’Air sticker, which classifies their vehicle according to their environmental impact on a scale of 1 to 5 (from the most virtuous to the most polluting. The age of their engine). In case of violation, users face a fine of 68 euros.

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• What are the advantages of EPZs?

Every year in France, exposure to fine particles and nitrogen dioxide is responsible for triggering numerous pathologies (asthma, stroke or even lung cancer) and causes at least 48,000 premature deaths, i.e. according to Public Health France. (49,000 according to the Ministry of Health). In addition, an INSEE study in 2019 demonstrated the impact of increased car traffic in the city (on days of public transport holidays) on hospitalizations with acute pathologies of the upper respiratory tract and respiratory anomalies.

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Although it is too early to assess the effectiveness of these zones, several studies conclude that they have positive effects. In Paris, Apur (Atelier parisien d’urbanisme) estimates that 50,000 fewer residents were exposed to high levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) thanks to the ban on vehicles classified as Crit’Air 5, Crit’Air 4 and beyond. from the category.

On an environmental level, too, these low-emission zones have benefits, with the oldest cars targeted by cities that have already implemented them often being the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases. The share of transport in the total greenhouse gas emissions of the greater Paris metropolis, for example, is estimated by WWF at 24%. In Toulouse it is 53%.

• Why are they criticized?

However, the increase in the number of ZFE-Mobility is widely criticized. Special ZFE radars will gradually appear from 2024 to penalize the most polluting vehicles, and some civil society actors fear a turn in this direction. “safe city”with radars, sensors and other surveillance cameras on street corners. “Environment is the new excuse to install CCTV cameras and legitimize repressive policies”thus providing the Reporterre la Quadrature du net.

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But the main criticism is social in nature: some even changed the name of these EPZs “High Exclusion Zones”, the poorest are the first to be affected by the ban on the most polluting cars. According to a 2019 Insee survey, 38% of the poorest households had a Crit’Air 4 or 5 vehicle, compared to only 10% of the richest households.

“We are all environmental criminals, but some are more guilty than others”

Many citizens of our constituency are already in a very precarious position due to months of inflation and chronic unemployment and cannot travel to work.Alma Dufour, the rebel MP for Seine-Maritime, explains to Novethic media.

To allay these fears, a ministerial monitoring committee was established by the government in October with the cities concerned. Members will meet every six months to report and resolve bottlenecks in the field. In order to support the communities, the executive power also released an envelope of 150 million euros. And the aid is designed to encourage gentle mobility, such as driving a car or cycling, as well as switching to an electric vehicle. “A number of benefits are available, including a revised environmental bonus for the poorest 50% of households”shows the Ministry of Ecological Transition in the communication campaign.

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