« Back

Make Barcelona a Green City

Barcelona says goodbye to older cars by establishing a ban on most-polluting vehicles by 2020

March 18th, 2019
Hoëlenn Ayoul-Guilmard, News from Berlin

Barcelona’s Mayor Ada Colau has stated that pollution is “probably the biggest problem” that the city is facing, authorities introduce a new plan to ban the most polluting vehicles from entering the Catalan capital.

Cities across Europe are placing ever-stricter controls on cars and pollution, it was only a matter of time before the Catalan capital was one of them. Following the footsteps of Madrid, Barcelona will implement a ZBE (low emission zone), a 95 km2 area covering the entire city and part of the surroundings. This plan will only be enforced in case of high levels of air pollution before being fully implemented starting in 2020. From that date, every vehicle, which can’t obtain the environmental sticker, delivered by the Spanish traffic authority (DGT), will be forbidden to enter the city. This sticker is issued according to the gas emission therefore older and more polluting vehicles are not eligible.

According to the statistics such measures will concern 50,000 vehicles, accounting for 7% of the current amount circulating in the Catalan capital. However, this number is expected to reach 125.000 by 2024 following the city’s bigger plan to reduce pollution in the city. Indeed, apart from the ban, the city is aiming for the implementation of new cycles line, the increase in public transport as well as the introduction of “superblocks,” areas which only residents will be able to enter. In the end, such initiatives aims at reducing by 20% the amount of vehicles in the city for pollution to fall by 15%.

As of today, many issues are still being debated regarding the implementation of this program. However, with such plan, reducing carbon footprint could also mean increasing socio-economic inequality. Often forgotten in the debate, the lower social classes living in peripheral areas and who can’t afford to upgrade to cleaner vehicles are likely to be the victims of such ban.


Berlin Global, News from Berlin