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Questions and answers

The 3rd phase of the Frankfurt Low Emission Zone came into effect on 1st January 2012. Only vehicles with the green badge can be driven within the Low Emission Zone.

The 3rd phase of the Low Emission Zone is based on the first revision of the Rhein-Main Clean Air Plan, part of the Frankfurt am Main plan. It was compiled by the Hessian Ministry for the Environment, Energy, Agriculture and Consumer Protection (HMUELV) in collaboration with the City of Frankfurt am Main. The Clean Air Plan came into effect on 14.11.2011. You can download it here HMUELV (2011): Luftreinhalteplan Frankfurt.

What is a low emission zone (Umweltzone)?
Users of vehicles that produce fewer pollutants receive more favourable treatment in a low emission zone (Umweltzone). Vehicles producing especially high levels of pollutants are prohibited from entering the zone. The vehicles most affected by this prohibition are older diesel models.

Why has this been necessary?
The permissible limit for fine particles in Frankfurt am Main has been exceeded in 2005, 2006 an 2009. The term ‘fine particles’ refer to tiny particles that are present as pollutants in the atmosphere and, due to their reduced dimensions, are capable of penetrating deep into the airways and the human body, thus constituting a health risk.

Which area is included within the low emission zone (Umweltzone)?
The low emission zone (Umweltzone) covers the area enclosed by the 'orbital motorway'.
It is bordered by the A5 to the west, by the A3 to the south and by the A661 to the north and east.

How long has there been a low emission zone?
The Low Emission Zone was introduced in Frankfurt am Main on 1st October 2008 and operates all year round. Driving within the Low Emission Zone has been restricted in phases. As of 1st January 2012, only vehicles with the green badge are allowed to travel in the Low Emission Zone.

Will controls be carried out and fines be applied?
Anyone entering the low emission zone (Umweltzone) without a badge will have to pay a fine of EUR 40. In addition, one penalty point will be registered in the central vehicle register at the Federal Motor Transport Authority in Flensburg.

Where and for how long are the badges valid?
The badges are also valid in other German low emission zones as long as the vehicle has the same number plate. Foreign vehicles must also display a badge. There are currently around 40 low emission zones in Germany. Regulations regarding the type of badge necessary to enter each zone differ.

My vehicle doesn't have a green badge - what should I do?
Have your vehicle checked at a garage to see whether your diesel vehicle can be retrofitted with a particle filter, or if your vehicle has a petrol engine, whether it can be equipped with an approved catalytic converter. Or, consider investing in a new vehicle with lower exhaust emissions.
In 2012, a cash subsidy of €330 is being offered in order to promote the retrofitting of diesel vehicles and light-duty commercial vehicles with particle filters. You can find information here BMU (2011: Nachrüstung.
As of 2012, only vehicles with the green badge can be driven inside the Low Emission Zone. Exceptions may be made for certain vehicles or in particular circumstances.