‘Green ring’ for cars in Athens

From September 1, cars will only be allowed to enter central Athens during peak hours if they have low emissions, rather than based on whether the license plate ends in an odd or even number, it was decided Thursday.

The scheme limiting access to an inner ring in Athens based on license plate numbers has been in place since 1982, when it was introduced to combat pollution and congestion. However, the Environment Ministry is replacing this system with one that limits access to the city center to low-emission vehicles.

This means only cars which comply with the Euro 5 emissions standard introduced in September 2009 will be allowed to drive into or through the center.

Vehicles that meet the Euro 4 standard but emit less than 140 g/km of carbon and hybrid cars will also be allowed access at all times of the day.

Late last year, the ministry removed restrictions on diesel vehicles entering city centers.