08/09/2020 - 10:29
The Low Emission Zone (LEZ) came into force on 1 January this year to reduce air pollution and traffic volumes in the city. Fines were due to be introduced from 1 April for unsuitable vehicles using the LEZ during restricted times, but their introduction was postponed because of the Covid-19 health emergency. As from 15 September, infringements will result in fines of €100 upwards and may rise by 30% if repeated.
There are 66 number-plate-reading cameras in Barcelona, located at 20 different points around the city. Data from these cameras show that cars and motorcycles circulating without an environmental badge account for 3% of traffic in the city.
A total of 42,090 notifications have been sent since 1 January, corresponding to vehicles circulating in the low emission zone without being suitable to do so.
Why has the Barcelona Ring Roads LEZ been established?
The goal of the Barcelona Ring Roads LEZ is to cut pollution and improve air quality and public health. At the same time, the measure aims to help with the change towards more sustainable mobility. The public transport system and the cycle lane network offer the best way of travelling within the Barcelona Ring Roads LEZ.
The LEZ is one of the measures by Barcelona City Council to cut pollutant emissions by 30% in 15 years, mainly nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate matter (PM10). The goal of the LEZ is to cut these emissions to 31% and 39% respectively.
Which vehicles are affected by the restrictions?
- The Barcelona Ring Roads LEZ may not be used by vehicles which pollute the most. That means vehicles without the DGT environmental rating badge (0, Eco, C and B), which cannot circulate on working days from 7 am to 8 pm. The vehicles affected are cars (M1) and motorcycles (L) without the DGT environmental badge. Namely:
- Petrol-powered cars prior to the Euro 3 regulation (usually those registered before the year 2000) and diesel-powered cars from before the Euro 4 regulation (usually registered before 2005 or 2006).
- Mopeds and motorcycles (L) from before the Euro 2 regulation (usually registered before 2003).
Owners of vehicles which are unsuitable to circulate in the LEZ can request 24-hour permits (up to a maximum of 10 days a year) on the website zbe.barcelona.
Professional, goods and passenger vehicles
A special moratorium is available for professional vehicles used to transport goods and passengers. This period varies according to the type of vehicle and means that they can circulate regardless of the DGT badge and have a few more months to adopt less pollutant energy.
- Vans (N1): exempt up to 1 April 2021.
- Heavy vehicles, lorries and small coaches (N2, N3 and M2): exempt until 1 July 2021.
- Buses and coaches (M3) intended for collective transport: exempt up to 1 January 2022.
What exemptions are there?
- Vehicles belonging to people with reduced mobility.
- Vehicles operated by the emergency services.
- Vehicles operating essential services (medical or funerary).
- Unique vehicles: cranes, mobile TV and radio units, mobile labs, mobile workshops, fairground vehicles, vehicles adapted for the display and sale of articles, vehicles with refrigeration units and cement mixers.
- More details on exemptions can be found at zbe.barcelona
- For people getting medical treatment who need to use their own vehicle to get to a medical centre. In this case users should register beforehand and provide the relevant documentation using the website zbe.barcelona. Similarly, vehicles without the environmental badge which need to circulate in the LEZ for a medical emergency can apply for authorisation retrospectively in the three days after the infringement occurs.