sunlit buildings in copenhagen Photo by Carsten Ruthemann /

Starting Today, These Cars Are Not Allowed to Drive in Copenhagen

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In 2020, stricter environmental zones were introduced, preventing older diesel-powered vans without particle filters from driving in Copenhagen and Frederiksberg. Now, the environmental zones also include diesel-powered cars without particle filters.

Regarding the new regulation, which prohibits diesel-powered cars without particle filters from driving in the environmental zone and goes into effect today, Copenhagen’s technical and environmental mayor, Line Barfod (Enhedslisten), says:

-“We have a huge problem with air pollution in Copenhagen, and many people die prematurely every year because of it. Therefore, smelly diesel cars cannot continue to drive in Copenhagen without particle filters, and I’m glad that we are now doing something about it.”

The environmental zones, which already require particle filters on older diesel-powered trucks, buses, and vans, have been introduced in Odense, Aarhus, and Aalborg in addition to Copenhagen and Frederiksberg. The zones are automatically enforced via cameras that can read license plates.

If you own an older diesel car, the solution may be to have a particle filter installed. The filter has been a legal requirement for diesel cars registered after January 1, 2011. However, as of May 30, 2023, there are still approximately 2,600 diesel-powered cars in Copenhagen Municipality and 554 in Frederiksberg Municipality that do not have a particle filter.

Technical and environmental mayor Line Barfod is aware that the zones may impact those who are already financially strained, but in this case, the consideration for air pollution takes precedence:

-“I acknowledge that it is a problem for drivers who cannot afford to switch to a newer model or install a particle filter. But we need to do what we can to reduce air pollution in Copenhagen. If you can’t manage in other ways and rely on your car, there are options for most people to get a subsidy to have a particle filter installed,” she says.

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