the Senate puts forward negative opinions on low-emission zones

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By John

A success and a failure. The consultation launched by the Senate on the establishment of low emission zones (ZFE) – to fight against air pollution in large cities – has garnered many opinions. From April 17 to May 14, 51,300 people responded to one of the two questionnaires – for individuals or for professionals – posted online, and 40,000 other Internet users provided a partial response. The previous record dated from 2018, with the consultation devoted to the speed limit of 80 km/h on departmental roads: 23,000 responses. That is to say if the subject concerns the population, and irritates it: because the consultation shows that the establishment of the EPZs is, at this stage, a failure.

Indeed, 86% of individuals (the case of nine out of ten respondents) and 79% of professionals are against their deployment, according to the results of this consultation, published Thursday, May 25. And 83% of them do not plan to change cars. “The device fails to produce changes”notes Philippe Tabarot, senator Les Républicains des Alpes-Maritimes, who presented the results of the consultation.

However, the ZFEs aim precisely to revolutionize the way of moving around in order to improve the quality of the air breathed in the city: the forty-three largest agglomerations in France with more than 150,000 inhabitants must create their own by 2025, and gradually excluding the most polluting vehicles. If the air quality does not improve quickly enough, the law provides that vehicles with a Crit’Air 5 sticker (the most polluting) will be automatically banned in 2023; Crit’Air 4 in 2024 and Crit’Air 3 in 2025. To date, eleven cities have already set up their ZFE, including Paris, Lyon, Toulouse and Grenoble.

“Anti-suburban measure”

The French who took part in the consultation of the Senate, which is not “not a representative poll”underlines Philippe Tabarot, are worried. “The more we know about the ZFE, the less we are in favor of it”, says the senator.

The results show, unsurprisingly, that where you live influences your opinion of this measure. The further the respondent lives from the center of the agglomeration, the less favorable they are to it: only 8% of those living in a rural municipality support the measure, compared to 23% of the inhabitants of the city centre. Similarly, the more alternatives to the car (walking or public transport) we have, the more favorable we are to the ZFE.

Above all, the consultation confirms the strong social dimension of the problem. While only 14% of individuals approve of the reform, they are 25% among executives and 28% among students. “The main criterion of acceptability is the social levelrecalls Mr. Tabarot. The poorest, who live outside the EPZs, are the most disadvantaged. » In their comments, Internet users denounced a “anti-suburban or anti-provincial measure”, he observes. Four out of ten respondents own a Crit’air 3, 4, 5 or unclassified vehicle, which is the most polluting and therefore the first targeted by the ZFE.