Barcelona becomes low-emission zone, bans old cars

THE largest low-emissions zone in southern Europe opened in Barcelona on New Year’s Day, banning the most-polluting vehicles from entering the entire metropolitan area of the city and some satellite towns.

Barcelona is penalising the most polluting vehicles with a low-emissions zone covering 37 square miles.

From yesterday drivers of petrol cars registered before 2000 and diesels made before 2006 who enter the zone will incur a fine of €100-150 (£85-127).

The mayor’s office expected 50,000 fewer cars in Barcelona from day one, and the Deputy Mayor in Charge of Transport, Janet Sanz, has said that she hopes to reduce the number of cars in the city by 125,000 within three years and bring air pollution down by a quarter within four years. To enforce the ban 150 cameras have been installed. Depending on the success of the programme, Sanz said they will consider introducing a London-style congestion charge, where all vehicles must pay for driving within the charging zone.

During a three-month moratorium, offenders will be notified but not fined. The period of grace extends to a year for delivery drivers. Barcelona’s new low emission zone will be one of the largest in Europe, 20 times larger than that in the centre of the Spanish capital Madrid and on a similar scale to other examples, such as those in the UK capital, London.

EU’s goal is to be the first climate neutral continent by 2050.

During the Conference of the Parties (COP25), President von der Leyen stated: “Our goal is to be the first climate-neutral continent by 2050. If we want to achieve that goal, we have to act now, we have to implement our policies now. Because we know that this transition needs a generational change.”