Sweden announces new LEZ powers for city authorities

By Fiona Twisse / Updated: 16 Apr 2018


The Swedish government has announced new legislation to allow city authorities and municipalities to enforce more stringent vehicle restrictions in the future. Urban Vehicle Access Restrictions (UVARs) were in the news last month with the announcement from Germany that cities would be permitted to prevent diesel vehicles from entering restricted zones. UVARs seem to be an increasingly popular way to manage air pollution and congestion within city boundaries.

The Swedish Minister for Infrastructure Tomas Eneroth stated that, "We're seeing the introduction of low emission zones throughout Europe. It is important that we make air cleaner and the urban environment better in our cities. At the same time, people and businesses need to know what the rules are and have time to adapt to green technology." 

The Swedish Government consider LEZs to be a powerful tool with which to tackle air pollution and have made provisions to allow Municipalities to decide for themselves whether and where low emission zones will be applied.

From 1st January 2020, municipalities will be able to introduce three different kinds of low emission zones:

  1. The first type of low emission zone regulates heavy duty vehicles. Municipalities can already implement low emission zones for certain heavy vehicles (lorries and buses). Low emission zones already exist in eight municipalities.
  2. The second type of low emission zone sets standards for cars.
    • Initially, diesel cars that meet the emission standards Euro 5 and Euro 6 may drive in these. But on 1 July 2022, the standards will be made stricter, allowing only Euro 6 diesel cars to drive in low emission zones, as well as hybrid electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids with diesel engines.
    • Cars with petrol engines will have access if they meet emissions standard Euro 5, or better, as well hybrid electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids, natural gas vehicles and E85 vehicles.
    • Cars with higher environmental performance, such as electric cars and fuel cell vehicles, may also drive in such zones.
  3. The third type of low emission zone sets the highest standard. This zone only allows purely electric cars, fuel cell cars and gas cars that meet the emission standard Euro 6. High standards are also set for heavy vehicles. This zone only allows electric vehicles, fuel cell vehicles, plug-in hybrids and gas vehicles that meet emission standard Euro VI.

What will happen now?

The Government will adopt the necessary legislative amendments in the Road Traffic Ordinance which will make it possible for municipalities to introduce the new low emission zones. The Government will also instruct the Swedish Transport Agency to draw up proposals for how the municipalities can ensure compliance with the low emission zone provisions and other traffic rules.

Image source: © Shutterstock

Urban mobility planning
Clean and energy-efficient vehicles
Traffic and demand management