Drive around Barcelona
To get around Barcelona you have a wide network of public transport, more than 200 km of bike lanes, and streets and avenues that increasingly prioritize walking. If you have no choice but to move by motor vehicle, this vehicle must correspond to the DGT environmental badge (or technology similar).
Drive without label according to uses and type of vehicle
Vehicles for people with reduced mobility; emergency services (police, the fire service and ambulances); essential services (medical and funeral services) and vehicles for transporting people with diagnosed illnesses that affect their ability to use public transport. Even though these vehicles have permission to circulate, they must be registered before they do so.
Moratorium for professional vehicles and people on low incomes
Professional vehicles (vans, lorries, coaches and buses) without a DGT environmental label are eligible for an extended exemption period due to the Covid-19 pandemic to allow them to adapt to cleaner energies. At present, heavy vehicles, lorries and small coaches are permitted to circulate until 31 December 2021, and buses and coaches until 30 June 2022. Vans have not been able to circulate since April 2021, when the moratorium on vehicles used for business purposes by those on low incomes came to end.
For cars, motorbikes and mopeds without a DGT environmental label: up to a maximum of ten days per year. Prior registration and application for authorisation is required.
Compulsory registration for all vehicles with a foreign number plate
If the vehicle complies with the requirements equivalent to the DGT environmental label, they can circulate without restrictions. If they do not, they must apply for daily permits for up to a maximum of ten working days per year.
Vehicles with specific authorisation from Barcelona City Council which provide special services or are involved in extraordinary events on the public highway, special vehicles (see the Appendix), vehicles for carrying people diagnosed with illnesses who need regular medical treatment.
Temporary restrictions per NO2 episode
Once an episode of atmospheric NO 2 pollution is declared, and until it is de-activated, the most polluting vehicles will be banned from Barcelona’s ring-road low emissions zone and the granting of daily established permits halted, provided none has been applied for before the declaration of the episode.
The fines are set at 100 euros for minor infractions, 200 euros for serious infractions and 500 euros for very serious infractions. All vehicles that fail to comply with the regulations regarding the Barcelona Low Emission Zone will be sanctioned as of September 15, 2020.
The proceeds of the fines will be used to finance actions aimed at promoting sustainable mobility.
Road signs informing drivers they are approaching and entering the Barcelona Low emission zone. They are located at ring-road exits and on other city access roads.
In the event of a high-pollution episode with traffic restrictions, a specific panel is included in this sign which prohibits any transit within the restricted zone, except for authorised vehicles. The signs indicate the restriction times and which vehicles are exempt from restrictions.
Control of vehicles authorised to circulate
The control of the vehicles is carried out through cameras installed in different parts of the city equipped with the latest technology. The cameras control several traffic lanes and verify all the license plates of the vehicles in circulation. The sanction system discards the license plates of the vehicles authorized to drive. The camera system is complemented by specific actions by the Barcelona police (Guardia Urbana). Violations will be penalised as a minor, serious, or very serious offence, according to normative.
Barcelona City Council has drawn up a specific by-law to permanently regulate the LEZ, using current European, national and regional laws, provisions and guidelines on the improvement of air quality as a reference. The process of drafting and approving the by-law included a participatory process open to the general public (June – September 2019) prior to the municipal procedure, which was completed at the Full Council Meeting (December 2019).
The goal of the byelaw is to cut atmospheric emissions from motor vehicles, as these are the biggest cause of local pollution levels in the city.