The European Union and Commission are active in three areas relevant to Urban Access Regulations, in Air Quality, Transport and Climate Change.

Air Quality

The EU has two main roles with respect to air quality. Firstly to set air quality standards, based on advice from the World Health Organisation (WHO). The second is to agree EU-wide emissions reductions that would be difficult to do at national level - such as those detailed below.

Measures implemented by the European Union (EU) include:

  - Specific health-based air quality standards that are to be met, which in turn lead to action on all levels
  - Cleaner fuels for vehicles and inland shipping, which allows cleaner engines to be developed and operated
  - Standards that new vehicles need to meet, that get more strict every 4-6 years, the "Euro standards"
  - Regulations for large industrial plants, particularly power stations
  - Limits for the total amount of emissions that each country is allowed to emit, known as the National Emissions Ceilings Directive (NECD)i.

The EU and LEZs
The European Commission sees LEZs as a useful tool to improve air quality. Under certain circumstances the European Commission is prepared to give countries an extension to the date by which they are to meet the air quality targets, but only if they are undertaking all the action that they reasonably could – including implementing LEZs.
The cities and ministries within this Network also feel it is the role of the EU to open up vehicle registrations to other member states to make enforcement of foreign vehicles easier and more formal through EU processes.

The DG Environment of the European Commission has also had a draft voluntary guidance on LEZs, and a full report that accompanies the guidance. It is a public document, but it has as yet no official status, other than a consultants report. If the EU is to take this document forward as an official EU document, it would first go through informal consultation. The CLARS Network would be the one of the consultation methods. If you are a European public authority, please register with us to ensure that you are involved in this informal consultation if it happens.


The issues and challenges connected to this require action at European or even international level; no national government can address them successfully alone.

The aim of the Commission is to promote a mobility that is efficient, safe, secure and environmentally friendly and to create the conditions for a competitive industry generating growth and jobs.

The European Commission’s Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport works on issues such as clean fuels and sustainable mobility, including funding this website. In 2015-7 the DG MOVE is working on 6 non-binding guidance documents for Urban Vehicle Access Regulations, which will be available from this page when they are published.

The key EU transport goals from the latest Transport White paper is to:

 - to halve the use of ‘conventionally fuelled’ cars in urban transport by 2030;
 - phase ‘conventionally fuelled’ cars out of cities by 2050;
 - achieve CO2-free city logistics in major urban centres by 2030.

Urban Access Regulations play a key role in providing this.

DG MOVE has also published Non-Binding Guidelines on Urban Vehicle Access Regulations

Climate Change

Transport produces carbon dioxide, so reducing transport emissions through access regulations for example urban road charging is relevant to climate change. See the European Commissions Climate Change page for more details on their climate change policies.

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