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Retro car on the streets of Barcelona

Barcelona moves into the next stage of reducing traffic pollution

Barcelona moves into the next stage of reducing traffic pollution

The measures affect the entire Low Emissions Zone of the Catalonian metropolis

The Barcelona Metropolitan Area counts with the largest Low Emissions Zone (LEZ) in all of Southern Europe. The initiative which seeks to drastically reduce pollution, improve air quality and overall health, was introduced last year and it is unfolding gradually in stages.

The next stage is set to begin on 1 April when the moratorium place on vans will expire. From that day onward only vehicles of that category displaying an official DGT environmental sticker will be able to freely circulate on the roads of the LEZ, Mondays to Fridays between the hours of 7 am and 8 pm.

Currently, more than 200 European cities have low emissions zones

The Barcelona Area LEZ covers 95 square kilometres and includes the entire areas of the municipalities of Barcelona, L’Hospitalet de Llobregat and Sant Adrià de Besòs (the only exceptions being the area of the Zona Franca, Vallvidriera, Tibidabo and Les Planes). It also covers parts of the municipalities of Esplugues de Llobregat and Cornellà de Llobregat.

There are more than one hundred traffic signs that have been placed on the metropolitan area’s ring roads which warn drivers that they are about to enter an LEZ. The initiative has been unfolding since 1 January 2019 with the restriction of cars and mopeds.

Later there was a moratorium placed due to the Covid pandemic, but now this is set to expire also for the lighter vehicles. Restrictions for lorries and buses are also set to come into power on 1 July 2021 and 1 January 2022, respectively.

The municipality of L’Hospitalet presented statistics that show the unequivocal benefit of the LEZ introduction. The percentage of vehicles without an environmental sticker has dropped by more than half from 9-10% to 3-4% after the entering into force of the new law. With the end of the current moratorium, this number is expected to go to less than 1%.

The overall aim of the initiative is to bring pollution levels closer to those recommended by the World Health Organization and to also comply with the legal air quality limit values.

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