The Low Emission Zone is now in operation

According to City Council estimates, around 40,000 vehicles without the environmental label have stopped circulating in Barcelona, reducing NOx levels by 19% since the LEZ came into force on 2 February.

The Low Emission Zone (LEZ) has reduced the number of polluting vehicles driven in the city of Barcelona by 50% compared with the figures from the 2017 characterisation study of vehicles on the road. As for the byelaw enforcement cameras, a total of 44 out of the 66 cameras scheduled to be in service by 1 April have already been installed.

 

The cameras in Barcelona are equipped with the latest technology and are one of the most modern monitoring systems in Spain. Thanks to their technology, they can record anonymous statistical information about the vehicles coming into the city and collect information about mobility parameters that can be very useful for improving traffic management. With a view to the future, Barcelona City Council is working on bringing the city’s current camera systems together into a single system so they can all perform various functions at the same time, such as speed control and check point functions in the Low Emission Zone.

The system records all number plates and dismisses those of vehicles that are not subject to sanctions, either because they have the General Directorate of Traffic’s (DGT) environmental label, because they are authorised despite not having a label or because they are covered by an exception. The database thus stores only the number plates of vehicles that are in breach of the legislation. At present, violators are sent a single warning to tell them that they are driving in a forbidden area. Sanctions will start to be applied on 1 April.

The municipal check point network has been installed with the collaboration of the Municipal Institute of Information Technology (IMI). When this initiative was first launched, it took part in a coverage study, together with the Area of Ecology, Urban Planning, Infrastructure and Mobility, to decide on the locations of the city’s check points.

In addition to suggesting the best check point locations, it has also provided support for choosing the components of the network and the architecture and security requirements for the new platform to ensure it is in line with Barcelona City Council’s information systems.

The LEZ is a measure that will protect public health, because traffic pollution, particularly due to NOx and particulate matter, has a serious impact on health and is a cause of premature death; there were 351 cases linked to traffic pollution in 2018. The measure aims to comply with the limits set by the World Health Organization.

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