Environmental Zones, Entry Bans and speed limits in Austria
A clean air for the inhabitants in the Austrian cities: this is the main goal of the environmental zones, which have been so far introduced in 6 of the 9 Austrian federal states.
Thanks to the Austrian environmental badge, the emissions of fine particles and nitrogen oxide (NOx) are reduced. For now, this measure concerns only the delivery traffic, since it is considered in Austria as the main cause of pollutants emissions. The obligation of bearing an environmental badge will be most probably extended to cars and busses in the future, since the requirements of EU-regulations on fine particles and NOx remain neglected in Austria.
Lorries, and particularly those responding to the EURO 0 and EURO 1 standards, which pollute the most, must be equipped with a particulate filter in order to emit less fine particles and nitrogen oxide or they will be able to drive into the Austrian environmental zones or to drive on determinate highways.
Since entry bans and circulation restrictions are probably not sufficient to improve the air quality, traffic bans also partially occur for EURO 2 vehicles since 2014.
Also on this basis, the Austrian Ministry for Environment decided in 2012 to change the emission protection law for the air, which for now on allows the federal states of Vienna, Lower Austria, Upper Austria, Styria and Burgenland to set up environmental zones and to decide on their contours.
Lorries, counting among the most polluting vehicles, need an Austrian environmental badge in order to drive into the environmental zones. If the vehicle does not respond to the requirements of any EURO standard, an exceptional, time-limited authorization can be given.
Thanks to the introduction of environmental zones in 6 of the 9 Austrian federal states, emissions of air pollutants have been reduced in a short and a long perspective since 2012, the development of energy efficient vehicles has been promoted and the oldest vehicles have been step by step banned from the traffic.
On 01.07.2014 (after 2 years of drive interdiction for EURO 0), the interdiction has been partially extended and increased to the EURO 1 and EURO 2 vehicles.