Environmental zone for heavy goods vehicles

Basic Information





This measure comprised the evaluation of Gothenburg’s existing environmental zone, the definition of new criteria for vehicles entering the zone, and the development of a proposal to expand the zone.

Implementing sustainable mobility

An environmental zone is an area within a city where certain traffic restrictions apply due to the area’s particular sensitivity to air pollution, noise and congestion. These areas usually feature apartment buildings, have streets used by pedestrians and cyclists, and contain parks or green areas. The 15-km2 environmental zone established in Gothenburg in 1996 has proved to be an effective system in ensuring minimum environmental standards for heavy goods vehicles and buses in the city centre. This success led to discussion of its possible expansion incorporating Euro IV criteria and the introduction of an on-site measurement system for the emissions control of individual vehicles.

The immediate objectives were therefore to:

  • evaluate the existing environmental zone;
  • develop a proposal for new criteria for vehicles entering the zone;
  • develop a proposal for the enlargement and design of the zone;
  • verify and evaluate the new proposals for zone regulation and enlargement; and
  • improve communication with the local transport industry.


In April 2007, Gothenburg extended the low-emission zone to include areas on the north bank of the river where greater numbers of goods lorries are in circulation. The traffic police carry out checks on heavy goods vehicles and buses over 3.5 tonnes twice a year in order to ensure compliance with the legal framework.



Figures for 2008 were very positive, with more than 96 percent of vehicles authorised to drive in the zone. The extension of the zone has been calculated as reducing emissions of nitrogen oxides by 40 tonnes per year and emissions of particulates by 1 tonne per year from 2007.


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