Milan launches Area B, Italy’s largest Low-Emission Zone

Milan, Italy, took another step to reduce smog by restricting access to the city to polluting vehicles.

Although the city centre – known as Area C – has been a Low-Emission Zone since 2013, this has not proved enough. City authorities have thus decided to extend the zone to cover most of the city surface area and to impose stricter exclusions.

Area B, as it brings air quality back

The new “Area B” covers about 72% of the municipal territory. Furthermore, it covers an area of almost 1.4 million inhabitants, or 97.6% of the city’s resident population. The Municipality said that the introduction of “Area B” is part of a “definite, progressive and gradual set of rules to reduce particulate matter and improve urban quality in Milan”. City authorities expect air pollution to decrease sharply in the next few years.

Low-Emission Zone Regulations on track

Since February 25, 2019, gasoline-powered vehicles Euro 0 and diesel-powered Euro 0, 1, 2 and 3 have been denied access to Area B from Monday to Friday, from 7:30 to 19:30, excluding holidays.

Since October 1, 2019, authorities decided to ban Euro 4 diesel vehicles in Area B as well. Progressive bans will follow for other classes of passenger and freight vehicles until 2030, when all diesel vehicles will be hopefully banned in Milan.

Permits will be available to:

  • residents;
  • shift workers whose hours make using public transport impossible;
  • patients travelling for medical treatment;
  • and – for a limited number of days per year – to drivers resident outside the city limits.

However, these drivers will all need to apply for special permits.

Full details of the exclusions and exceptions are available (in Italian) on the dedicated page of the city hall website.