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EU Urban Mobility Observatory
News article8 December 20201 min read

Further changes to access regulations across Europe

Changes in urban vehicle access regulations (UVARs) throughout the EU have seen a shift towards an emphasis on cleaner air and fewer cars. However, recent developments have led to regulations being relaxed, particularly due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Regional Council of Balingen decided to abolish their Low Emission Zone (LEZ) from 1 November 2020, onwards. The level of nitrogen dioxide exceeded limits in 2013 motivating the development of a Clean Air Plan in 2016. The measures put into place, including the LEZ, successfully resulted in notable improvements in air quality. As such, with limit values of nitrogen dioxide now safely being met, the LEZ is being repealed.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges it presents have resulted in the temporary suspension of fines associated with UVARs in several regions. In compliance with measures aimed at containing COVID-19, the municipality of Milan has suspended several UVARs until further notice, for example, in Area B, the LEZ covers most of the city territory and restricts access for highly polluting vehicles. In addition, Milan Area C and parking charges throughout the city have been suspended. Area C is a combined LEZ and Urban Road toll which restricts access to highly pollutant vehicles in the historic centre of Milan.

Elsewhere, the recently introduced LEZ in Amsterdam has suspended fines until 28 February 2021. Instead, drivers of vehicles which do not meet the minimum emissions standards will be issued a warning. The UK have also suspended all expansions and introduction of new Clean Air Zones (CAZs).

The Hague, however, is the exception to this trend with the tightening of their LEZ for mopeds. From 1 December 2020, mopeds will not be permitted anywhere in the Hague. To support this measure, the municipality has a scrappage scheme in place to receive credit towards public transport, or purchasing an electric bicycle.

For further information see or the original articles on the following websites:


Publication date
8 December 2020
  • Urban Vehicle Access Regulations
  • Europe-wide