25 May 21

The LEZ as a fleet determinator

As ever more cities implement low emission zones, managers of a fleet of largely diesel powered LCVs are starting to see tight deadlines approaching. The solution may be found in considering alternative drivetrains for your vehicles.

What inventives are available for EVs across Europe? Find out in our e-book, in which we analysed electric vehicle incentives across the main European markets.

Road transport is responsible for almost 72% of the total greenhouse emissions in Europe, according to findings from the EEA. As a result, legislation constantly adapts to limit the impact of transport emissions on the environment and on human health. One of those measures is the implementation of Low Emission Zones, of which there are currently over 260 across Europe.

As LEZ aim to ban those vehicles that pollute the most from cities or city centres, they have become a criterion in their own right when it comes to selecting the right LCVs for a fleet. Aside from aiding your business’ CSR and sustainability targets, a vehicle’s CO2-emissions and Euronorm now also determine where a vehicle can and can not go. This stimulates managers of an LCV fleet to think wisely when it comes to considering alternative drivetrains.

Here are 10 significant LEZs with their minimum requirements to use as a guide for a future-proof fleet (text continues below the map).


While LEZs that affect heavy transport have been in place in the Netherlands for several years, the impact on passenger cars and vans remains relatively low. Currently only Amsterdam, Arnhem, Den Haag and Utrecht impose rules on lighter vehicles. Amsterdam bans all diesel-powered vehicles up to and including the Euro4 norm. There are no regulations in place for other fuels. The city plans to be fully zero-emission by 2030.


Brussels was the second city in Belgium to implement a LEZ, after Antwerp. The rules across Belgian low emission zones differ per city and are therefore to be checked individually. The capital city bans all diesel vehicles below the Euro5 norm and all petrol or CNG/LPG-powered vehicles below the Euro3 norm. In 2022 diesel engines that comply with Euro5 will also be banned. By 2030 Brussels intends to ban all diesel fueled vehicles.


Germany has a national framework of low emission zones affecting all motorised transport. These rely on a system of colour coded stickers that visualise the emissions standard of each vehicle. Currently most cities only allow vehicles with a green sticker, while some cities have stricter rules in place. Stuttgart, for example, only allows diesel vehicles as from the Euro6 norm or petrol vehicles as from Euro1 in its city centre. The rest of the city follows the national rule, allowing diesel vehicles as from Euro5.


In Sweden, several cities have nationally regulated low emission zones in place that affect heavy transport. Only Stockholm has a LEZ targeting passenger cars and vans as well. This city bans all vehicles below the Euro5 norm regardless of their fuel type. As from 2022 this limit will be raised to exclude all cars and LCVs below the Euro6 standard.


Several cities across the United Kingdom have implemented low emission zones, though these are not nationally regulated. London has two separate LEZs in place, one covering the area of Greater London and the other, called the Ultra Low Emission Zone, applying to Central London. The ULEZ excludes all diesel-powered vehicles below the Euro6 norm and all petrol or CNG/LPG-powered vehicles below Euro4. The broader LEZ only bans diesel-fueled vehicles below the Euro3 standard. In October 2021 London plans to expand the boundaries of the ULEZ area.


France has a nationally regulated system of low emission zones based on colour coded stickers called “Crit’Air”. Paris only allows passenger cars and vans with the Crit’Air 3 sticker. This translates to the Euro4 standard for diesel-powered vehicles and Euro2 for vehicles powered by petrol or CNG/LPG. As from 2022 the city will ban diesel vehicles below Euro5 and petrol or gas vehicles below Euro4. A full diesel ban will be in place as from 2025.


There are several low emission zones across Italy that are not nationally regulated. Milan in particular applies separate rules for passenger cars and delivery vehicles. Currently both categories must answer to at least the Euro5 standard if diesel-powered or at least the Euro2 standard when powered by petrol or gas. In October 2021 this will change to respectively Euro6 and Euro3 for passenger cars, while this rule will only apply for delivery vehicles as from 2023.


Spain has only two low emission zones at the moment, located in Madrid and Barcelona. In order to enter either one of these cities, your vehicle needs to comply with at least the Euro4 norm if powered by diesel or the Euro3 norm if powered by petrol or CNG/LPG. As from 2022, Madrid will raise these rules to the Euro5 standard for diesel and the Euro4 standard for petrol or gas.


Copenhagen is one of the four cities in Denmark that have a low emission zone in place. These apply only to heavy transport and vans and are nationally regulated. They therefore include the same rules across the country, which are based on the registration date of the vehicle rather than the Euronorm. In order to enter Copenhagen an LCV must be registered on or later than 1 January 2007. In 2022 this will be raised to at least 2012, and in 2025 vehicles registered before 2016 will be banned.


Lisbon is home to the only low emission zone in Portugal. The city bans all vehicles with emissions standards lower than Euro4, and all heavy transport above 7,5 tonnes. Between midnight and 6:30 in the morning all vehicles are allowed to enter, regardless of their Euronorm. Lisbon aims to be zero-emission by 2050.

What inventives are available for EVs across Europe? Find out in our e-book, in which we analysed electric vehicle incentives across the main European markets.

Photo: Stockholm (copyright: Shutterstock)

Author: Joram Van Acker