Since January 1, 2020, the permanent low emission zone has entered into force throughout the city of Barcelona and part or all of the municipalities of Hospitalet de Llobregat, Cornellà de Llobregat, Esplugues de Llobregat and Sant Adrià de Besòs, with a total area of ​​95 square kilometers. This measure will limit the circulation of the most polluting vehicles, reduce NO2 emissions and improve air quality.

It is estimated that the entry into force of the low emission zone will result in the reduction of the circulation of 125,000 vehicles without an environmental label of the DGT, which will reduce air pollution in Barcelona by 15% in 2024.

This measure puts Barcelona at the level of other European cities in environmental matters. For example, Brussels, London, Paris, Milan or Rotterdam are some of the more than two hundred European cities that already have low emission areas.

The restrictions in the low emission zone affect all vehicles that do not have the DGT environmental mark, which certifies that they are suitable for driving. Vehicles that have no environmental mark are:

  • Gasoline cars before Euro 3 registered before January 2000 and diesel before Euro 4 registered before January 2006.
  • Motorcycles, mopeds and quadricycles prior to Euro 2 registered before 2003.

Progressively (after 2021), vans (N1), trucks (N2, N3) and buses (M2, M3) without an environmental label will also be affected:

  • Gasoline vans (category N1) prior to the Euro 3 standard (usually registered before 2000) and diesel vehicles prior to the Euro 4 standard (usually registered before 2005 or 2006).
  • Trucks (N2 and N3) and buses (M2 and M3) prior to the Euro 4 standard (usually registered before 2006 or 2007).

Emergency vehicles (police, fire and ambulance), vehicles of people with reduced mobility and essential services may travel through the Low Emission Zone regardless of their DGT label.

Badge placement is not mandatory. The Urban Guard of Barcelona will control the circulation by reading the license plates of the vehicles through cameras installed in the entrances of the Low Emission Zone. The cameras will register the license plates of vehicles that do not comply with the regulations, but no sanctions will be applied, and a single informative notice will be sent to repeat offenders. The fines will be light, serious or very serious and of an amount of 100 euros and will begin to be effective on April 1, 2020.

Sergi Vilar, Vicepresident, Head of Pharma & APIs Sites Cluster at Merck Group


Xavier Mayo

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