This websites use cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. For more details about cookies and how to manage them, see our cookie policy.

Quantifying the Impact of low and zero emissions zones across Europe


AQC has supported the Clean Cities Campaign and Transport & Environment to quantify the impacts of 'Low Emissions Zones’ (LEZs) and ‘Zero Emissions Zones’ (ZEZs - in which only zero-exhaust emission vehicles are allowed) in six European cities.

The European Commission has been undertaking a review of the Ambient Air Quality Directive.  Measures to improve air quality often involve local actions, but despite this, the Commission’s impact assessment does not take the potential benefits of further LEZs or ZEZs into account.  It thus misses a key feature which might assist member states achieve future limit values.

We used a simple model to estimate the effects of future LEZs and ZEZs on the worst-case measurements of NO2 and PM2.5 reported to the Commission.  Ambitious LEZs could reduce the impacts of road transport on NO2 concentrations in Paris, Brussels, Madrid, Milan, Warsaw and London by 36-49%.  ZEZs would remove almost all local effects of road transport on NO2.  For PM2.5, the reductions are smaller but still appreciable. 

Achieving better air quality across Europe will require action from many sectors and not just road transport.  However, this study shows that local actions on traffic emissions in key locations would allow the earlier achievement of more stringent limit values. 

Read more about the study here: Zero-emission zones can make a serious dent in harmful levels of air pollution (

© Air Quality Consultants 2024