Spanish cities must have their low emission zones ready before 2023

by Lorraine Williamson
emission sticker

MADRID – All 149 Spanish cities with more than 50,000 inhabitants have received a guideline for the rapid implementation of Low Emission Zones (ZBE).  That is, zones within which polluting motor vehicles are banned in order to improve the living environment. 

The guidelines were presented this week by the Spanish traffic service DGT, the Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces (FEMP) and the Área Metropolitana de Barcelona (AMB). The implementation of ZBEs in Spanish cities is laid down in the Spanish Law for the Climate and Energy Transition, which stipulates this must be completed by next year at the latest. 

The ZBE Rondas in Barcelona cover an area of ​​more than 95 square kilometres around the city of Barcelona. Here polluting vehicles are banned, and it serves as an example for the issued directive. According to Carlos Daniel Casares of the FEMP, in addition to the introduction of ZBEs, additional measures are also involved. These include the introduction of a maximum speed of 30 kilometres per hour in the city. A large number of Spanish municipalities have already introduced this on their own initiative. 

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Cleaner, quieter and safer 

Furthermore, the FEMP states Spanish municipalities have been looking for solutions to make their city cleaner, quieter and safer. Additionally many smaller municipalities (with fewer than 50,000 inhabitants) have chosen to introduce ZBEs. This is despite the fact that they are not legally obliged to do so. According to the FEMP, more than 200 Spanish municipalities are now working on introducing pollution restrictions. 

The ZBE Rondas Barcelona is the largest of the low emission zones in southern Europe and has almost 2million inhabitants. According to the FEMP, any municipality in Spain can follow this example. Because, by doing so it will improve the quality of life for its inhabitants. According to Susana Gómez of the DGT, vehicle labeling is one of the main pillars of the new directive. This will allow better control of vehicles entering ZBEs. 

Free public transport for three years 

Following the example in Barcelona, ​​there will also be a so-called tarjeta verde (green pass). With this pass, all motorists who have given up their car can travel for free on public transport for three years. 

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