After lots of posts on the subject, this is an attempt to clarify the pollution sticker situation in Germany for UK Motorhomers and bring all the relevant info into one place.
Particular thanks go to Gerhard (Boff) for proof reading it for me and suggesting additional Information. Vielen Dank Gerhard!
General information and FAQ;
Umweltzone = Pollutuion Zone
Umweltplakette = Pollution Zone Sticker
Regardless of you being a visitor to Germany in your motorhome there is now a legal requirement for you to purchase and display an 'Umweltplakette' in the windscreen of your vehicle to enable you to travel with your motorhome within the stipulated inner areas of certain German Towns/Cities. Some Towns/Cities have already implemented the system and others will follow. Read the links at the bottom for more information of affected areas and the dates they come into effect.
Its worth noting that there is absolutely no obligation to buy a sticker to enter Germany itself, most folk will enjoy their travels without one - its only if you need to venture into the inner city areas that you will need to purchase a sticker.
Which vehicles qualify to display an 'Umweltplakette' ?
Most diesel vehicles registered Jan 97 onwards and all petrol vehicles fitted with a catylytic convertor. Older diesel vehicles Euro1 compliant or less and petrol vehicles not fitted with cataylytic convertors will have to satisfy authorities that appropriate measures have been taken to enable a relevant sticker to be issued.
Generally, what colour sticker can I expect to get for my motorhome?
Diesel Vehs - Registered Jan 1997 - Dec 2000
Diesel Vehs - Registered Jan 2001 - Dec 2005
Diesel Vehs - Registered Jan 2006 to Present
All Petrol Vehs (with fitted catalytic convertor) Registered Jan 1993 to present will comply for a green sticker
If you are issued with a green sticker you can expect to be able to access vitually all inner city regions and less areas on a graduating scale with yellow and red stickers. Vehicles displaying no sticker will not be able to enter any umwelt zones.
How does it work?
At the begin of an Umwelt Zone you will find a sign like the one above. The upper part of the sign basically prohibits all vehicles that are affected from driving into the zone. The lower part then exempts all these vehicles from the ban that carry the appropriate sticker. German legislation requires that the signs are positioned so that when you see them you still have a chance to (legally) turn around and avoid entering the zone.
What if I don't display the required sticker and travel in an 'umwelt zone'?
You will be subject to a €40 fine and 1 point on your licence. Whether the endorsement will be transferred to the UK is not clear at the moment. The penalty point however only has relevance for permanent residents of Germany, so it might happen that for foreigners the fine is doubled. Be aware that it does not matter whether you are actually caught driving in the zone, or just parking.
How much does it cost and what do I need to purchase a sticker?
It will cost you €5 and you will need to present your V5C registration document or a photocopy if applying by post to obtain a sticker. The sticker will remain valid for the life of the vehicle and is valid for all Umweltzones througout Germany regardless of where you purchased it.
What do I do once I have received the sticker?
If not already done by the issuing authority, write your vehicle's registration number on the white field of the sticker, and then attach it "with its own adhesive" on the windscreen at a convenient place. Note that stickers not or not permanently attached to the windscreen - e.g. placed on top of the dashboard or attached with sticky tape - are NOT considered as valid.
What if I am on an Autobahn travelling through an 'Umweltzone', do I have to display a sticker?
No, all Autobahns that pass through umweltzones are currently exempt from the regulations.
Are there any exemptions relevant for motorhomers?
If you carry a motorcycle or scooter they are exempt.
In general, all motor vehicles having less than 4 wheels are exempt.
If your vehicle is being driven or is carrying passengers with a severe mobility or vision impairment you are exempt. Provided that you can prove this.
How do I get one of these 'stickers' ?
There are 2 options for you here;
1 - Purchase your sticker by post before your visit Germany.
2 - Purchase the sticker as you enter the country, or while you are transiting Germany.
Purchasing by post.....
Download and print off the following form....
.....fill out the relevant details, attach a photocopy of your V5C registration document (Do not send your original) and a €5 note and post it off. It would be prudent to allow at least 14 days possibly more for a reply. There have been some reports of delays but similarly many have received theirs promptly, the decision is yours.
**The above pdf link option has been removed by Koeln - I am looking for other options, update to follow**
Update - Since the above ammendment, I have only managed to find one possible online application at a cost of €14.99....
>TUV Sud Application<
All others i've found involve a costly BACS bank transfer, please pm me if you find another link and I'll update the post.
Purchasing whilst in Germany.....
Lots of options for you here, they are available from TÜV, DEKRA (German equivalent of MOT stations) and Zullassungsstelle (Veh registration centres). In addition they can also be purchased from many Vehicle Main Dealers. I got mine from the Ford main dealer in Goslar. The majority of these can usually be found on the outskirts of towns, often in the industrial areas.
Some of the following links are German, some English, but all are fairly self explanatory...
::TÜV stations North::
::TÜV Stations Rheinland or Mid::
::TÜV Stations South::
::Veh Registration Centres or Zulassungsstelle::
and enter the req'd town in the box marked 'ort'.
If you have looked at the above links it will be apparent that there are many outlets where you can purchase your sticker, you should have no problem finding one.
Some useful links that might help;
Above all, enjoy your stay in Germany, its a great country to explore in a motorhome.
Bum covering statement - Please not that this is only my interpretaion of the current situation and should be used as a rough guide only. You should satisfy yourself accordingly that you comply with the relevant regulations.