Only diesel cars should be a ZFE threat in Bordeaux

The ZFE should make it possible to reduce the pollution associated with vehicular traffic. (© News Bordeaux / Jonas Denis)

The outlines of the low emission zone (ZFE) take shape in Bordeaux. If the public consultation should continue until the middle of 2023, the President of the Metropolis expects his assessment and put forward, this Wednesday, January 11, 2023, the scenario that should be maintained and applied from 2024, for a first year of pedagogy before moving to verbalization in 2025.

Due to the current economic context, as well as the initial feedback from the general public, Alain Anziani and the elected metropolitan officials are first considering (until when?)prohibit access to the intra ring road – which forms the ZFE – only for Crit’Air 4, 5 and unclassified vehicles.

Economy hinders ecology

In other words, only diesel vehicles registered before 2006 will be affected by the ban. All others will be allowed to drive in the low emission zone (diesel vehicles registered from 2006, petrol, hybrid, electric, gas, hydrogen, bioethanol).

Crit'Air vignette
Crit’Air vignette (©certificat-air.gouv.fr)

From the very beginning, we knew that arbitration will be done around the Crit’Air sticker 3, as in many other French cities. Claudine Bichet, vice-president of Bordeaux Métropole in charge of the file, recalled in an article bybalita.fr that was in March 2022banning the Crit’Air 3 vignette in the ZFE will reduce nitrogen dioxide emissions by nearly four and fine particle emissions by three (based on Girondin car fleet figures in 2022).

Unsurprisingly, the elected official – the right hand of Pierre Hurmic in the town hall of Bordeaux – favored at that time the choice of the most beneficial solution for the environment, in the face of the climate emergency and the 150 annual deaths related to fine particle pollution in the Bordeaux metropolitan area. At the start of January 2023, inflation weighing on households – and slowing the ability to invest in a new car – makes him say it is necessary to “take time”.

5% of the metropolitan car fleet is concerned?

Knowing that he fears that many people do not expect ZFE in their budget, planning to change their car or convert it: “There is a big lack of communication. The device remains unknown or misunderstood by the general public. »

Alain Anziani is on the same wavelength, he who repeats in his will that he fears a social movement of the type of “yellow vests” if the ZFE is too strict. “Beyond the environmental issue, it is a health issue because our life expectancy is decreasing due to pollution, he said. But we also have to act in the interest of the population. »

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By saving Crit’Air 3, Metropolis services approximate that Only 5% of the metropolitan car fleet will be affected by the ring road driving ban by 2025 and according to the trend, we will be 1% by 2028.

Retrofitting, a sector to develop

To arrive at these conclusions, it is enough to look at the evolution of the car fleet in the metropolis of Bordeaux. In 1eh January 2022, there were 29,612 Crit’Air 4, 5 or unclassified cars out of a total of 437,677 cars (ie around 7%) although there were 5,000 more last year (34,858 in 1eh January 2021).

On the other hand, if we take the whole of the Gironde, the share of cars classified Crit’Air 4 or 5 and not classified is greater. (85,921 out of 987,913 vehicles, or about 9%) and above all, the vehicle department’s fleet is renewed faster than in the Bordeaux metropolitan area.

“It remains in the social issues of the department”, slips a manager of Bordeaux Métropole. In summary, in areas where poverty is higher, motorists cannot afford newer cars.

Too many overrides kill the override

True, not all of these cars were intended to enter Bordeaux’s inner ring road, but the elected officials of the Metropolis knew that ecology should not come before economy if they want the population to accept the EPZ.

Also, it is important that the device is transparent. In some metropolitan areas such as Strasbourg, many derogations allow motorists to avoid the ban but they are so numerous that the measurement becomes illegible. Worse, the low emission zone of the Grand Est metropolis is threatened with appeal.

“We are inspired by what is being done in other cities, but a fair balance must be found between aid and deduction”Claudine Bichet’s reaction to this.

Utilities, a thorny subject

The opposition group Métropole Commune suggested taking inspiration from Toulouse and the set up an annual derogatory pass (with 12 authorizations against 52 in the pink city), arguing that many workers or sedentary traders – who go to the markets – will find themselves stranded at the entrance to the Bordeaux conurbation.

For her part, Claudine Bichet prefers to help her professionals by focusing on retrofitting, which changes a combustion engine to an electric one. “We want to promote the sector,” she slips.

In fact, the question of commercial vehicles is a thorny topic in the ZFE dossier because 16% of the Girondin park is classified Crit’Air 4 or 5 and not classified in 2022 (10% for the metropolitan park) and the renewal of the park is not as fast as for the car.

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