The German Environmental Zones & Umweltplakette – What Do You Need To Know?
Any of us who’ve driven anywhere near London will be painfully familiar with the Congestion Charge and possible also the T-Charge. While London is currently the only UK city with such congestion and pollution charges, there are more on the continent, in particular, there are 58 such zones in Germany, so if you arrange motorhome hire and travel to affected German Cities or urban areas, you’ll need to know a little more about the Umweltplakette – the German Environment Badge for vehicles.
What are Umweltplakettes, when were they introduced?
From 2007, Germany started introducing environmental zones to reduce the number of particulates in the air in cities and other urban areas. As time passes, more and more areas, particularly in cities are adopting the system in a bid to improve air quality, but more recent developments include outright bans older diesel vehicles from the streets of affected zones.
The Umweltplakkette itself is simply a sticker which vehicles are legally required to display which shows the emissions standard that vehicle meets and are coloured Green, yellow and red. For most of Germany, there are no restrictions, but for built up areas, especially cities an larger urban areas, there are zones set up which prominently show which vehicles can enter. If the vehicle you’re driving doesn’t meet the required environmental standard, it can’t come in.
Emissions zones are denoted by a sign showing ‘Umwelt’ with space for red yellow and green circles beneath it. If all three colours are shown, then vehicles with those badges can enter, if only green and yellow can be seen, then if you’re driving a vehicle with a red badge, you can’t drive beyond the sign. It’s worth noting that zones allowing vehicles with red and yellow badges are being phased out and eventually it’s likely that only ‘green’ badged vehicles will be allowed in designated clean air zones.
Do I have to get an UmweltPlakette on my Motorhome? How Do I do it?
While vehicles registered in Germany will get an emissions badge automatically, foreign registered vehicles (including motorhomes) will need to apply for them. If you’re planning on taking your Priory Motorhome to Germany, please contact us to let us know and ask us about getting an Umweltplakette at the point of booking so that we can advise you further.
Priory Motorhomes are all recent models and as such meet the highest standards possible, but a sticker will still need to be obtained and displayed (entering a clean air zone without a sticker can result in a fine at the very least).
The sticker generally has to be ordered from official German government sites (there are unofficial sites which will provide them but which charge a premium) and they have to be posted so at least two weeks should be allowed in order to make sure it’s delivered in time for your motorhome travel.