By-law regulating the low emission zone approved

Pollution. This is the last step before the LEZ comes into force on 1 January 2020.

The Full Council has given definitive approval to the text for the by-law, which comes into force on 1 January with the aim of combatting pollution and cutting NO2 emissions in Barcelona by 15%. The final text includes a new moratorium for unique vehicles able to circulate in the LEZ and sets out the amounts of fines for minor, serious and very serious infringements.

In a bid to protect people’s health and improve air quality in the city, the Barcelona Ring Roads low emission zone comes into force on 1 January 2020 and will be in place from 7 am to 8 pm on working days. Vehicles which pollute the most, without an environmental rating badge, will not be allowed to circulate.

Vehicles without the badge will have to seek authorisation, which will be granted for 24-hour periods, up to a maximum of ten per year. Vehicles must get onto a register in advance to do this.

Other vehicles which must be registered in advance to circulate in the LEZ until they are replaced include vehicles belonging to people with reduced mobility, emergency services, medical vehicles and funeral services.

The final text for the by-law includes a new moratorium for people in vulnerable situations and a special permit for people receiving medical treatment. It also numbers the unique vehicles that can circulate in the LEZ and specifies the amounts of fines.

New moratorium for vulnerable people

People with individual incomes below the multiplier for the public income index (IPREM) plus 10%, equating to 8,000 euros gross per year, who show that their vehicle is essential for them to carry out their economic activity will have a moratorium of one year, enabling them to circulate in the low emission zone. People in this situation can now register and provide the necessary documents via the website zbe.barcelona.

Vehicles that carry goods or passengers, such as vans, lorries and buses, also have a moratorium of one year to be able to circulate in the LEZ. This measure will help the transport sector adapt to cleaner energies. Registration is not necessary in this case.

Special authorisation for people receiving medical treatment

A special permit will be available for people receiving medical treatment who need to use their vehicle to get to a medical facility. Users should register in advance and provide the necessary documents via the website zbe.barcelona.

At the same time, vehicles without the environmental classification badge which circulate in the LEZ because of a medical emergency will be able to request authorisation within three days of an infringement.

Exemptions for vehicles providing unique services

Exemptions are established for vehicles providing unique services, enabling them to circulate in the low emission zone. Authorisation should be requested, or prior registration carried out via the website www.zbe.barcelona.

These vehicles are armoured cars, mobile radio and television units, workshop or laboratory vehicles, vehicles adapted for selling or displaying books, vehicles conditioned for the sale of goods, tow-trucks, vehicles for fairs, cement mixers, road-surfacing and road-marking vehicles.

Online application

Permits, authorisations and moratoriums can now be applied for online via the website zbe.barcelona. They can also be applied for at the support point at the Citizen Help and Information Office in Plaça de Sant Miquel, from 7 to 31 January (Monday-Friday, 4 pm to 8 pm, and Saturday, 8.30 am to 8 pm).

Fines for non-compliance with the LEZ regulations

The five municipalities in the low emission zone (Barcelona, L’Hospitalet de Llobregat, Esplugues de Llobregat, Cornellà de Llobregat and Sant Adrià de Besòs) have common fines for vehicles which pollute the most, those without the DGT badge, which are not suitable to use the low emission zone.

Fines will be applicable as from 1 April 2020 and will be given for minor, serious and very serious infringements, the minimum amount being 100 euros.

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.