The French are not in favor of setting up low emission zones (ZFE)

Low emission zones (ZFE) are a big no for the French. This is indeed what emerges from a consultation launched by the Senate. Never before has a senatorial consultation with citizens received so many opinions: more than 51,300 responses in less than a month. It has never had so many negative reviews either.

“This success, in quotation marks, testifies to the many concerns that this device generates among the French, even if it is a consultation based on the principle of volunteering and not a representative survey”explained to the press the senator of the Alpes-Maritimes Philippe Tabarot (LR), rapporteur of the control mission on the ZFE which must return its conclusions in mid-June.

In total, 86% of individuals and 79% of professionals who answered the twenty or so questions asked by senators said they were opposed to the deployment of EPZs. Of the respondents, 93% are individuals and 7% professionals. “This is a technocratic measure which, moreover, creates a real break in equal access to the city center depending on whether you are well off or not”we read among the testimonials.

“We had the question of the yellow vests because we were touching the car. There too we are touching the car, so we cannot fail to see a similarity there” more “we don’t want to come to that”commented Philippe Tabarot. “We really don’t want to create an additional social bomb when there are already a few.”

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A generalization of ZFEs in France is provided for by law by 2025 in the 43 agglomerations of more than 150,000 inhabitants. To date, eleven metropolises, led by Lyon, Grenoble and Paris, have their ZFEs with different schedules.

territorial fractures

Among the findings of the consultation, the results of which were analyzed by a data specialist, the further a respondent lives from the center of an agglomeration, the more he tends to be unfavorable to the establishment of an EPZ. Thus, only 8% of the inhabitants of rural municipalities are in favor of it, against 23% of the inhabitants of the city centre.

The fact of having an alternative to the car also has an influence on the answers: only 16% of respondents believe that they have sufficient alternative solutions. Finally, the feeling varies greatly from one socio-professional category to another, 25% of executives being in favor of EPZs, against 11% of employees and 4% of manual workers.

Acquisition cost too high for clean vehicles

The first obstacle to the deployment of EPZs lies in the cost of acquiring clean vehicles, considered too high for 77% of individuals, given the insufficient accessibility of metropolitan areas from peri-urban or rural areas (51%) and the lack of alternative transport offers (42%). Despite the eventual threat of a fine of €68, 83% of individuals do not plan to change vehicles to use an EPZ.

The Senate’s “flash” information mission on the acceptability of EPZs has conducted more than forty hearings since March. “We see that today particularly proactive cities have set fairly tight schedules and are forced to go back. We are no longer on a political divide”recognized Philippe Tabarot.

Regarding the largely negative feeling of citizens, the senator hopes “find a crest line”. “We cannot not take into account the figures we have, but we cannot not take into account the imperative of public health”estimated the chosen one, for whom it seems “obvious” that there is one “desynchronization between the calendar (ZFE, editor’s note) and the advance of alternatives to the car”. The priority is therefore, according to him, “to move towards modal shift, towards public transport, because 40 million electric vehicles will not solve the problem of automobile congestion”.

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