The Environmental Zone - Preface
The environmental zone - What is it?
The environmental zone is an area where only vehicles which comply with emission standards can drive. Vehicles with especially high emissions have to stay out of it.
Why is an environmental zone necessary?
In the densely inhabited central areas of Berlin the limits of particles (PM10) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) have been exceeded on numerous arterial roads. Road traffic is the principle source of these pollutants in Berlin with a share of contamination reaching approximately 40 % for particulates and 80 % for nitrogen dioxide. In order to improve health protection for the local population, traffic emissions must be reduced. Through the introduction of the environmental zone, the proportion of inhabitants affected by the maximum levels being exceeded will be reduced by a quarter. Even housing areas which do not border busy roads will benefit from these measures.
Stage 1 of the environmental zone - one year on
One year after stage 1 of the environmental zone was introduced, emissions of diesel exhaust particulates have decreased by 24 %. Emissions of nitrogen oxides have fallen by 14 %. This resulted in around 62 tonnes less diesel particulates and 960 tonnes less nitrogen oxides in the air.
Stage 2 of the environmental zone - one year on
One year after stage 2 of the environmental zone has come into force, emissions of diesel exhaust particulates have gone down even more drastically by more than 50 %. Emissions of nitrogen oxides have fallen by 20 %. This means around 170 tonnes less diesel particulates and 1500 tonnes less nitrogen oxides in the air. Accordingly, traffic related black carbon concentrations measured along busy roads in the low emission zone were halved since the low emission zone was launched beginning of 2008.
What area does the environmental zone cover and how can I recognise it?
The environmental zone covers the centre of Berlin inside the S-Bahn ring ("Großer Hundekopf"). This has an area of approximately 88 km². The area is particularly closely built-up. Around one million of the 3.4 million inhabitants of Berlin live here. The environmental zone is indicated by traffic signs at the bridges and underpasses of the S-Bahn railway. At the head of the page appears a graphic illustrating stage 1 of the environmental zone in which vehicles with red, yellow and green stickers are allowed to drive. The southern part of the city highway, which lies inside the S-Bahn ring, will not form part of the environmental zone and will remain freely accessible given that the motorway ring serves as a bypass for the zone. In addition, nine streets within the ring are not part of the environmental zone, whereas one street outside the S-Bahn ring has been added to it.
You can check which streets or postcodes are part of the environmental zone:
When will the environmental zone be effective?
The environmental zone has been effective since 1 January 2008.
In order to relieve the air in Berlin, the traffic restrictions are considered permanent. The driving bans are independent of the current atmospheric load, regardless of whether it is high or low.