Low Emission Zone
A Low-Emission Zone is a geographically defined area which seeks to restrict or deter access by specific polluting vehicles or only allow low emitting vehicles, such as regular
Hybrid electric vehicle
A hybrid electric vehicle is a type of hybrid vehicle and electric vehicle which combines a conventional internal combustion engine propulsion system with an electric propulsion system. The presence of the electric powertrain is intended to achieve either better fuel economy than a conventional...

 or plug-in hybrids, or zero-emission vehicles, such as all-electric vehicles, with the aim of improving the air quality.

A Zero-Emission Zone (ZEZ) is a LEZ where only Zero-Emission Vehicles (ZEVs) are allowed. In this places, for example, internal combustion engine
Internal combustion engine
The internal combustion engine is an engine in which the combustion of a fuel occurs with an oxidizer in a combustion chamber. In an internal combustion engine, the expansion of the high-temperature and high -pressure gases produced by combustion apply direct force to some component of the engine...

 vehicles are banned and all-electric vehicles allowed.


Over 70 cities and towns in 8 countries around Europe operate or are preparing Low Emission Zones, or LEZs, to help meet the EU health-based air quality limit values, where the most polluting vehicles are regulated. This means that vehicles may be banned or in some cases charged if they enter the LEZ when their emissions are over a set level.
Different vehicles are regulated, depending on the local conditions. All LEZs affect heavy duty vehicles, some affect diesel vans, others also affect diesel and petrol cars; in Italy, motor cycles and three-wheelers are also included.

A Publicly Funded website run by a network of cities and ministries operating or preparing LEZs, with EU part funding gives up-to-date information on LEZs, such as which cities have LEZs, the vehicle types affected, the required emissions standards and their application dates.


In Germany, an LEZ is called Umweltzone (environmental zone). There are currently 47 LEZs in operation or planning in Germany. The cities of Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

, Cologne
Cologne is Germany's fourth-largest city , and is the largest city both in the Germany Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia and within the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Area, one of the major European metropolitan areas with more than ten million inhabitants.Cologne is located on both sides of the...

 and Hanover
Hanover or Hannover, on the river Leine, is the capital of the federal state of Lower Saxony , Germany and was once by personal union the family seat of the Hanoverian Kings of Great Britain, under their title as the dukes of Brunswick-Lüneburg...

 started LEZs in their respective central city areas on 1 January 2008. LEZs also came into effect in the cities of Mannheim
Mannheim is a city in southwestern Germany. With about 315,000 inhabitants, Mannheim is the second-largest city in the Bundesland of Baden-Württemberg, following the capital city of Stuttgart....

 and Stuttgart
Stuttgart is the capital of the state of Baden-Württemberg in southern Germany. The sixth-largest city in Germany, Stuttgart has a population of 600,038 while the metropolitan area has a population of 5.3 million ....

 on 1 March 2008. More cities followed the years after.


The cities of Gothenburg
Gothenburg is the second-largest city in Sweden and the fifth-largest in the Nordic countries. Situated on the west coast of Sweden, the city proper has a population of 519,399, with 549,839 in the urban area and total of 937,015 inhabitants in the metropolitan area...

, Lund
-Main sights:During the 12th and 13th centuries, when the town was the seat of the archbishop, many churches and monasteries were built. At its peak, Lund had 27 churches, but most of them were demolished as result of the Reformation in 1536. Several medieval buildings remain, including Lund...

, Malmö
Malmö , in the southernmost province of Scania, is the third most populous city in Sweden, after Stockholm and Gothenburg.Malmö is the seat of Malmö Municipality and the capital of Skåne County...

, Helsingborg, Mölndal and Stockholm
Stockholm is the capital and the largest city of Sweden and constitutes the most populated urban area in Scandinavia. Stockholm is the most populous city in Sweden, with a population of 851,155 in the municipality , 1.37 million in the urban area , and around 2.1 million in the metropolitan area...

 have Low Emission Zones.

United Kingdom

The Mayor of London
Mayor of London
The Mayor of London is an elected politician who, along with the London Assembly of 25 members, is accountable for the strategic government of Greater London. Conservative Boris Johnson has held the position since 4 May 2008...

 announced establishment of a Low Emission Zone which came into effect on 4 February 2008 covering almost all of Greater London
Greater London
Greater London is the top-level administrative division of England covering London. It was created in 1965 and spans the City of London, including Middle Temple and Inner Temple, and the 32 London boroughs. This territory is coterminate with the London Government Office Region and the London...

 - the largest such zone in the world. London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 currently has levels of air pollution
Air pollution
Air pollution is the introduction of chemicals, particulate matter, or biological materials that cause harm or discomfort to humans or other living organisms, or cause damage to the natural environment or built environment, into the atmosphere....

 among the worst in Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 and road transport related emissions
Emission standard
Emission standards are requirements that set specific limits to the amount of pollutants that can be released into the environment. Many emissions standards focus on regulating pollutants released by automobiles and other powered vehicles but they can also regulate emissions from industry, power...

 account for around half of total emissions of PM10 and NOx
NOx is a generic term for the mono-nitrogen oxides NO and NO2 . They are produced from the reaction of nitrogen and oxygen gases in the air during combustion, especially at high temperatures...

 in the capital. The Low Emission Zone will target emissions of these pollutants from older diesel-engined lorries
A truck or lorry is a motor vehicle designed to transport cargo. Trucks vary greatly in size, power, and configuration, with the smallest being mechanically similar to an automobile...

, bus
A bus is a road vehicle designed to carry passengers. Buses can have a capacity as high as 300 passengers. The most common type of bus is the single-decker bus, with larger loads carried by double-decker buses and articulated buses, and smaller loads carried by midibuses and minibuses; coaches are...

es, coaches
Coach (vehicle)
A coach is a large motor vehicle, a type of bus, used for conveying passengers on excursions and on longer distance express coach scheduled transport between cities - or even between countries...

, van
A van is a kind of vehicle used for transporting goods or groups of people.In British English usage, it can be either specially designed or based on a saloon or sedan car, the latter type often including derivatives with open backs...

s, minibus
A minibus or minicoach is a passenger carrying motor vehicle that is designed to carry more people than a multi-purpose vehicle or minivan, but fewer people than a full-size bus. In the United Kingdom, the word "minibus" is used to describe any full-sized passenger carrying van. Minibuses have a...

es and other heavy vehicles that are derived from lorries and vans such as motor caravans and motorised horse boxes. There will be a phased introduction of the scheme from 4 February 2008 through to January 2012. Different vehicles will be affected over time and increasingly tougher emissions standards will apply.

Netherlands, Denmark and Italy

The Netherlands, Denmark & Italy also have LEZs. The Netherlands for heavy goods vehicles, Denmark for vehicles over 3.5T and Italy for all vehicles.

See also

  • Battery electric vehicle
    Battery electric vehicle
    A battery electric vehicle, or BEV, is a type of electric vehicle that uses chemical energy stored in rechargeable battery packs. BEVs use electric motors and motor controllers instead of, or in addition to, internal combustion engines for propulsion.A battery-only electric vehicle or...

  • Congestion pricing
    Congestion pricing
    Congestion pricing or congestion charges is a system of surcharging users of a transport network in periods of peak demand to reduce traffic congestion. Examples include some toll-like road pricing fees, and higher peak charges for utilities, public transport and slots in canals and airports...

  • Ecopass
    The Ecopass program is a traffic pollution charge implemented in Milan, Italy, as an urban toll for some motorists traveling within a designated traffic restricted zone or ZTL , corresponding to the central Cerchia dei Bastioni area and encircling around . The Ecopass was implemented as a one-year...

  • Electric car
    Electric car
    An electric car is an automobile which is propelled by electric motor, using electrical energy stored in batteries or another energy storage device. Electric cars were popular in the late-19th century and early 20th century, until advances in internal combustion engine technology and mass...

  • List of modern production plug-in electric vehicles
  • Plug-in electric vehicle
    Plug-in electric vehicle
    A plug-in electric vehicle is any motor vehicle that can be recharged from any external source of electricity, such as wall sockets, and the electricity stored in the rechargeable battery packs drives or contributes to drive the wheels...

  • Plug-in hybrid
  • Road space rationing
    Road space rationing
    Road space rationing is a travel demand management strategy aimed to reduce the negative externalities generated by peak urban travel demand in excess of available supply or road capacity, through artificially restricting demand by rationing the scarce common good road capacity, especially...

  • Sustainable transport
    Sustainable transport
    Sustainable transport refers to any means of transport with low impact on the environment, and includes walking and cycling, transit oriented development, green vehicles, CarSharing, and building or protecting urban transport systems that are fuel-efficient, space-saving and promote healthy...

  • Transit mall
    Transit mall
    A transit mall is a street, or set of streets, in a city or town along which automobile traffic is prohibited or greatly restricted and only public transit vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians are permitted....

  • Zero-emissions vehicle
    Zero-emissions vehicle
    A zero-emissions vehicle, or ZEV, is a vehicle that emits no tailpipe pollutants from the onboard source of power. Harmful pollutants to the health and the environment include particulates , hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, ozone, lead, and various oxides of nitrogen. Although not considered emission...

External links

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