Permanent low emissions zone to be regulated

In an effort to improve environmental health and cut pollutant emissions from motor vehicles by 30%, the permanent low emissions area is set to come into force on 1 January 2020 and will be in place on working days, from 7 am to 8 pm. A municipal by-law will regulate circulation, restrictions and fines corresponding to vehicles without the environmental rating badge issued by the Directorate General for Traffic (DGT). The measure is expected to affect some 125,000 vehicles in the next four years.

16/09/2019 18:14 h

Ajuntament de Barcelona


VIDEO. Ada Colau “We’re talking about an area twenty times bigger than the central area in Madrid and which we initially expect to affect 50,000 of the most polluting vehicles every day as from January”.

Coinciding with the declaration of a climate emergency in the city, the permanent low emissions zone will come into force on 1 January 20202, the goal being to cut the pollutants NO2 and PM10, and improve air quality in Barcelona.

Premature deaths due to pollution

According to the report by the Barcelona Public Health Agency, air pollution led to 351 premature deaths in 2018. Motor vehicles generate the main pollutant in the city, nitrogen dioxide (NO2), which 48% of the city’s population are regularly exposed to at levels exceeding those recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Barcelona City Council will be fining vehicles without the environmental rating badge from the Directorate General for Traffic (DGT) if they circulate using the permanent Low Emissions Zones, an area of 95 km2 between the Ronda de Dalt and the Ronda del Litoral, which includes Barcelona and five adjacent municipalities.

This has been made possible through joint signage and public information about the low emissions zones by Barcelona City Council and the municipal councils of L’Hospitalet de Llobregat, Cornellà, Esplugues and Sant Adrià del Besòs, combined with action by the Barcelona Metropolitan Area (AMB) and the Government of Catalonia.

Which vehicles will be affected?

All vehicles in categories L, M and N (motorbikes, cars, vans, buses, coaches and lorries) wishing to use the roads in the low emissions zones will have to display the DGT badge certifying that the vehicle is suitable to circulate there.

The measure should mean some 50,000 vehicles without the DGT badge will stop circulating on the ring roads every day. The prevision is for 125,000 vehicles to have stopped circulating in the city over the next four years.

It is not obligatory to display the DGT sticker, but it does make it easier for the City Police to check. In any event, traffic cameras at roads in and out of the city and inside the urban nucleus will be used to check vehicle number plates, with fines for unsuitable vehicles.

If you have not received the environmental badge from the DGT, check if your vehicle is suitable and find out how to get the sticker on the municipal air quality website.

What fines will be given?

Fines will be divided into minor, serious and very serious infringements, varying from 200 to 1,800 euros. Offences repeated within a period of one year may lead to fines being increased by 30 per cent.

Which vehicles are exempt?

Vehicles belonging to people with reduced mobility, emergency services and essential municipal services.

Will there be any sort of moratorium for professional vehicles?

The by-law contemplates the concession of temporary reprieves of a year for professional vehicles and goods vehicles to adapt to the requirements.

Calendar for the by-law to come into force

After an open process with more than 230 participants to produce the by-law, it will be presented to the Commission for Ecology, Urban Planning, Infrastructure and Mobility in October. A public scrutiny period will follow in November before it is voted on in the full council meeting of December.

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