First step approved for the low emissions zoneThe Commission for Ecology, Urban Planning, Infrastructures and Mobility has initially approved the by-law which will regulate traffic restrictions on vehicles which pollute the most, to come into force on 1 January 2020.
The new regulations establish which vehicles will be unable to circulate in the low emissions zone, which exemptions and temporary moratoriums apply and which fines will be given to drivers who infringe them. The by-law will now be subject to public scrutiny and complaints and suggestions may be made. The definitive text will be voted on in the full council meeting in December, with the permanent low emissions zone coming into force from 1 January 2020.
What is the LEZ and why is it being applied?
The low emissions zone is an area covering 95 square kilometres, comprising Barcelona and adjacent municipalities. The traffic restrictions will be applied on working days, from 7 am to 8 pm, with fast roads such as the city ring roads and the C-31 exempt.
Vehicles which will not be allowed to circulate are those without the DGT environmental rating badge, meaning they are potentially over polluting. A petrol-driven car over twenty years old emits 58 times more nitrogen dioxide (NO2) than a new one, while taking a diesel vehicle over twenty years old off the road is comparable to taking off 35 modern equivalents.
The permanent low emissions zone is expected to prevent 50,000 vehicles without the DGT badge out of circulation every day. Emissions of NO2, a pollutant which mainly comes from road vehicles, should be cut by 15%. The measure is expected to affect 125,000 vehicles in the next four years.
You can check which environmental rating badge corresponds to your vehicle here.
Permits, moratoriums and fines
The by-law sets out various exceptions. Vehicles belonging to people with reduced mobility, essential service vehicles (medical and funeral) and emergency vehicles (fire, police and ambulance) will be able to circulate freely in the low emissions zone. Professional goods vehicles will also be able to take advantage of a one-year moratorium to adapt to the new regulations.
Vehicles without the DGT badge will be able to get day permits enabling them to circulate in the low emissions zone for a maximum of ten days a year. These vehicles should be registered beforehand on the AMB’s metropolitan vehicle register.
Fines for vehicles which don’t comply with the by-law are classified as minor, severe and very severe. They range from 200 to 800 euros, depending on the type of vehicle and the infringement. Repeated offences will incur a 30% charge.