Questions and Answers Regarding the Environmental Zone (Umweltzone)
The Environmental Zone was established with the aim of improving the air quality and, therewith, the health of residents living within the zone.
Within Leipzig's environmental zone, only vehicles with a green emissions sticker (emissions group 4) are permitted to operate.
Frequently asked questions
An environmental zone is an area in which the only vehicles permitted to be driven are those that meet certain emission standards and which are identified as such by a special colour-coded sticker. Vehicles that do not meet these standards are not permitted inside the zone.
Vehicular restrictions in Leipzig's environmental zone began on March 1, 2011. The restrictions are permanent and do not correspond to certain times of day or the prevailing air pollution levels.
For the past several years, daily concentrations of particulate matter (PM10), levels for which were established on January 1, 2005, have exceeded the limit for more than the allowable 35 days. In addition, annual nitrogen dioxide (NO2) concentrations, for which levels were established on January 1, 2010, have been consistently exceeded. The effects are normally seen most on heavily used streets, and particularly among the people who live there.
Both of these air pollutants pose a health risk for humans. Particulate matter causes an increase in respiratory and heart/circulatory disease, as well as increased mortality. NO2 affects lung function and, among children, lung development. It can cause cell damage and inflammation in the alveoli and, like particulate matter, also causes an increase in heart/circulatory disease. Vehicular traffic is one of the primary sources of air pollution, including both PM10 (approximately 40%), as well as NO2 (approximately 75%).
To better help protect the health of Leipzig's residents, as well as visitors to our city, emissions from vehicular traffic must be reduced. In order to accomplish this, measures have been introduced, including the environmental zone.
After carefully considering possible alternatives for laying out an environmental zone, it became clear that only a single zone, encompassing the majority of the city's land area, would make it possible to adhere to or stay below the established concentration limits for PM10 and NO2. The environmental zone comprises approximately 62% of the Leipzig city area. Show the environmental zone on the city map.
Entry to the environmental zone is indicated by the traffic sign 270.1. The required supplemental sign indicates which vehicles, with which colour-coded stickers (designating emissions groups), are allowed in the zone. When leaving the environmental zone, this is indicated by the traffic sign 270.2.
In Leipzig's environmental zone, only vehicles with a green emissions sticker may be driven. All cars with a gasoline engine and regulated catalytic converter, as well as diesel fuel vehicles designated Euro 3 and Euro 4 with particle filters, and automobiles without an internal combustion engine, are eligible for a green emission sticker. Vehicles for which an official exception has been authorised may also be driven in the environmental zone.
In keeping with the goal of promoting environmentally friendly transportation, Leipzig offers many different ways of getting around without a car. At the edge of the environmental zone, cars may be parked free of charge at the P+R lots. From each of these lots, there is convenient access to the public transportation system, allowing speedy travel to destinations within the environmental zone. If an automobile is still necessary, the use of CarSharing is recommended.
The stickers can be purchased for five euros at Leipzig's Technical Town Hall, in the Department for Public Order/Vehicle Registration Department. They are also available at all federal vehicle registration authorities, official automobile inspection centres and authorised emission monitoring stations found at automobile repair shops. There is no unified pricing system for the stickers, and the prices may vary between government offices and private commercial sources. Generally, higher prices are charged when purchasing the stickers online.
You will only be required to present the vehicle registration document or a copy thereof. It is not required to present the vehicle itself.
Vehicles with foreign license plates also require a sticker. These can be obtained after crossing the border by presenting the vehicle registration or the registration certificate, part 1 (Zulassungsbescheinigung Teil I) at an authorised auto repair shop, official automobile inspection centre, or at a vehicle registration office (Zulassungsstelle). Some hotels offer foreign guests the opportunity to order stickers. Information in several languages about the environmental zone and emissions stickers can be found at www.umwelt-plakette.de.
Stickers purchased in the Czech Republic are valid in German environmental zones as well. The Czech sticker is the same colour as the German, and the numbers corresponding to the emissions groups and their related emission levels are also the same. The sticker is, however, a different shape - the Czech sticker is octagonal.