Environmental zones in several German cities and towns are in place to reduce emissions of particles harmful to human health.
Environmental zones are designated by the sign “UMWELTZONE”, and can only be entered by vehicles meeting the standards of Pollutant Classes 2 to 4 according to EU exhaust standards (Euro-Standards).
Once a city has set up an environmental zone, drivers entering such a zone with a car, bus or lorry will be required to carry a low-emission sticker on their front windshield.
This sticker can be obtained from a local traffic authority or from a garage by presenting your Vehicle Registration Certificate. The stickers have different colours to indicate the vehicle’s Euro-Standards classification; for diesel cars, buses and lorries, these colours are:
The sticker is valid all over Germany and for an unlimited period. Foreign vehicles must also comply with these rules, and tourists therefore need to obtain the appropriate sticker for their vehicle before entering an environmental zone. A vehicle’s Pollutant Class can be determined on the basis either of the year of initial registration or of the European emission standard stated in the vehicle documents.