Final text regulating the LEZ to give a new one-year reprieve for those most at risk

Following the period for challenges and proposed amendments to the by-law regulating the low emissions zone from 1 January 2020, the final text has now been completed and will make its way through the municipal commissions and this month’s full council meeting for final approval. The by-law now includes a new moratorium, detailing unique vehicles which will be able to circulate in the LEZ and specifying the fines applicable for minor, serious and very serious infringements.

10/12/2019 17:24 h

Ajuntament de Barcelona

During the public scrutiny period for the by-law, a total of 1,849 amendments to the text were presented by 110 physical and legal persons. As a result, the text sets out four points expanding on some of the content for the by-law.

New moratorium for those at risk

A one-year moratorium will apply in the low emissions zone for people whose income is below the multiple effect income indicator (IPREM) plus 10%, which equates to 8,000 euros per year. Vehicle users in this situation must demonstrate that their vehicle is essential for them to carry out their professional activity and must register in advance by providing the necessary documents via the website

Fines, penalties and repeated infringement criteria for vehicles with the DGT environmental rating badge

The five municipalities covered by the low emissions zone (Barcelona, L’Hospitalet de Llobregat, Esplugues de Llobregat, Cornellà de Llobregat and Sant Adrià de Besòs) establish common penalties for vehicles which pollute the most. These vehicles have no DGT environmental rating badge and are not suitable to circulate in the low emissions zone.

Minor infringements will incur fines of 100 euros, with serious infringements incurring fines of 200 euros and very serious cases 500 euros. Any vehicle already penalised for circulating in the low emissions zone and which is still circulating 90 minutes later may incur a second fine.

Exemptions for vehicles providing unique services

Vehicles providing unique services will be exempt and therefore able to circulate in the low emissions zone. Users should request authorisation or register in advance on the website

These vehicles are: armoured vehicles, mobile radio and television units, mobile workshops of laboratories, vehicles adapted for the sale or exhibition of books, adapted vehicles used to sell goods from, tow trucks and lifting cranes, vehicles for fairs, cement mixers, road-surfacing and road-marking vehicles.

Calendar for approving the by-law

The definitive text will be decided on by the Commission for Ecology, Urban Planning, Infrastructures and Mobility before being voted on definitively in the full council meeting of 20 December. It will then come into force on 1 January 2020.

What is the LEZ and why is it being applied?

The low emissions zone covers an area of 95 square kilometres and comprises Barcelona and adjacent municipalities. Traffic restrictions apply on working days, from 7 am to 8 pm. Fast roads such as the ring roads and the C-31 are excluded.

Vehicles without the DGT environmental rating badge will be unable to circulate as they have the potential to overpollute. For instance, a petrol-driven car over 20 years old emits 58 times more nitrogen oxide (NO2) than a new car, while taking a diesel vehicle of the same age out of circulation equates to taking out 35 modern equivalents.

The implementation of the permanent low emissions zone is expected to prevent the circulation of 50,000 vehicles without DGT badges every day. Emissions of NO2, a pollutant which basically comes from traffic, should be cut by 15%. An estimated 125,000 vehicles will be affected by the measure in the next four years.


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