justice puts in check the fight against polluting cars

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As has already happened to Madrid Central, the ordinance that regulates the Low Emissions Zone (ZBE) of Barcelona has been annulled, as confirmed by the official count of the Communications Office of the Superior Court of Justice of Catalonia in a tweet. Thus, more than 95 km2 of restrictions on the most polluting vehicles are lifted.


The tweet indicates that six appeals have been filed by ten different associations and that the ordinance lacks sufficient reports to support the restrictions imposed, which, in addition, exceed their geographical scope and the type of vehicles affected.

What is the ZBE of Barcelona

The Barcelona ZBE It has been the largest space in Spain in which circulation has been restricted to the most polluting vehicles. Between 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. On weekdays, vehicles without an environmental label from the DGT (those gasoline vehicles prior to the year 2000 or Euro III and diesel vehicles prior to 2006 or Euro IV) cannot drive through the space defined in the ZBE. At least, until the decision of the Supreme Court of Justice of Catalonia.

This ZBE has an area of ​​more than 95 km2 and includes the city of Barcelona (except the Industrial Free Zone and the neighborhoods of Vallvidrera, El Tibidabo and Les Planes), the municipalities of Sant Adrià de Besòs and L’Hospitalet de Llobregat , and part of the municipalities of Esplugues de Llobregat and Cornellà de Llobregat. To get a better idea, Madrid Central, now Madrid 360, has an area of ​​4.72 km2.

“Excessive restriction of the type of vehicles affected”

The resolution taken by the Superior Court of Justice of Catalonia alleges that no reports that endorse the decision to restrict the passage of the most polluting vehicles and that these measures have exceeded the restrictive space and the type of cars affected.

This last detail is important because it refers to the fact that the Barcelona City Council exceeds itself by preventing vehicles without an environmental label from circulating, the same ones that are also left out of Madrid 360, the only ZBE active at the moment together with the Catalan one. ElDiario.es collects that justice indicates that these measures cause “a negative effect on people with less purchasing power”, those who cannot change their car for a more modern one.

The decision comes after a decision was made in July 2020 rule against the appeal filed by the Platform for People Affected by Circulatory Restrictions and the Catalan Federation of Passenger Transport. On that occasion, the Court argued that the health benefits derived from the ZBE had to remain above the economic losses of the transport sector.

Shortly after, in the month of September 2020, the fines began that, initially, were to be imposed as of April 1 of that same year. However, the coronavirus pandemic postponed the decision.

a turning point

The ruling of the Catalan court is appealable before the Supreme Court but it alleges reasons similar to those that brought down Madrid Central. On that occasion it was alleged that there was a lack of economic memory to implement the measures. This time, a lack of reports is also pointed out to be able to maintain these restrictions.

The decision comes at a crucial moment, since the Barcelona City Council had already launched a first probe balloon warning that the ban on the circulation of vehicles with label B it was on the table. It remained to be decided how this was going to be carried out, since the possibility of discriminating by European emission regulations (not only by label) was also mentioned.

The plans of Spain and Europe to end gasoline and diesel vehicles

In addition, let us remember that 2022 is the year in which the new low emission zones in all Spanish cities with more than 50,000 inhabitants. A measure approved by the Government and that proposes the start of the same in 2023 but that leaves its configuration in the hands of the municipalities.

In the Climate Change and Energy Transition Law The possibility of extending these LEZs to those cities with more than 20,000 inhabitants with poor air quality was also included. Last week, however, we learned that the Generalitat will oblige all Catalan cities that exceed this figure (67 municipalities in total) to implement this measure, although they will have two years to carry it out.

Even in the new Law on Traffic, Circulation of Motor Vehicles and Road Safetywhose new fines come into force today, it is stated that those who fail to comply with the restrictions of these ZBE face fines of 200 eurosas it is considered a serious infringement.

Photo | Tamas Debreczeni

As has already happened to Madrid Central, the ordinance that regulates the Low Emissions Zone (ZBE) of Barcelona has been…

As has already happened to Madrid Central, the ordinance that regulates the Low Emissions Zone (ZBE) of Barcelona has been…

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