Barcelona will take a major step in improving air quality and the health of all citizens within the city with the introduction of a new low emissions zone.
From January 1, 2020, the new low emissions zone will come into force, meaning that only vehicles with the environmental category of Zero, Eco, C and B will be able to enter the zone, with older polluting vehicles prohibited.
Covering around 95 square kilometres, the new ZBE or Zona Baixes Emissions will cover almost all of the city within the metropolitan area (AMB) including Barcelona, L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, Sant Adrià de Besòs and part of Esplugues de Llobregat and Cornellà de Llobregat. The industrial area Vallvidrera, Tibidabo and Les Planes will be exempt.
The rules will be applied between 7am and 8pm Monday to Friday, except bank holidays and will affect cars (M1), motorcycles and mopeds (L). Commercial vehicles such as lorries(N2,N3), buses/coaches (M2, M3) and vans (N1) will be given a grace period of one year in which to adapt to the new rules and either take action to reduce their emissions or find alternative routes.
The new zone will start with a three month trial allowing drivers time to adapt. From April 1, any drivers that do not adhere to the new legislation will be fined with sanctions expected to be around €100.
Image source: Ajuntament de Barcelona
The automatic monitoring system will comprise of over 100 cameras throughout the metropolitan area. Registration plates will be automatically checked for the appropriate DGT environmental label, and with the Metropolitan register of foreign vehicles and other authorised vehicles.
Climate change is a major issue in today’s world with air pollution one of the biggest culprits not just in Barcelona, but worldwide. Each year millions of people’s deaths are attributed to low air quality.
Barcelona City Council believe that the new measures will help to reduce the city’s Nitrogen Dioxide (N02) and Particulate Matter (PM10) levels by 31% and 39% respectively.
You can find out more about the new ZBE zone in English via the official website at https://www.zbe.barcelona/en/index.html
To find out whether your vehicle will be permitted to enter the ZBE, you can check its environmental label via the DGT website at http://www.dgt.es/es/seguridad-vial/distintivo-ambiental/index.shtml
Any owners with an exempt vehicle, but without a badge will be able to apply for one at their local post office.
Although the displaying of the environmental badge will not be mandatory, it will help the authorities to speed up the process of identifying legitimate vehicles.
Image Credit: zbe.barcelona