One of the most notable features of the protocol is the restriction on vehicles which pollute the most, those without the environmental classification sticker issued by the Directorate General for Traffic (DGT), during nitrogen dioxide pollution episodes.
The protocol for air pollution episodes is an internal coordination tool for the City Council which is included in the Municipal Basic Emergency Plan and which regulates action to be taken when high levels of nitrogen oxide (NO2) or particulate matter (PM10) are recorded.
The Deputy Mayor for Ecology, Urban Planning and Mobility, Janet Sanz, used December’s full council meeting to explain that the plan is “a specific means for periodic action to combat atmospheric conditions when pollution levels exceed those set out by the European Union and the World Health Organization (WHO)”.
The Deputy Mayor pointed out that the process to draft the plan involved broad social and political consensus. “We’re sure it means a step forward in the fight against pollution, and in particular in favour of people’s health in the city”, added Sanz.
What is an air pollution episode?
An air pollution episode comes about when atmospheric pollutants exceed the recommended levels set out by the EU and become harmful for people’s health. In Barcelona, this can occur up to three times a year due to high concentrations of particulate matter (PM10) or nitrogen dioxide (NO2).
Main measures to be activated if a pollution episode is declared
In the case of an NO2 pollution episode, temporary circulation restrictions will apply to vehicles which pollute the most in the low emissions zone around Barcelona’s ring roads. Restrictions will be in place from 7 am to 8 pm from Monday to Friday while the episode lasts. In order to facilitate mobility, extra public transport will be laid on via exceptional measures.
In the case of a pollution episode due to particulate matter (PM10) , municipal services will be prohibited from carrying out work which generates dust while the episode lasts and extra services will be laid on to hose down streets.