Low emission zones in Spain, what are they, how do you avoid a 200 euro fine?

Low emission zones in Spain, what are they, how do you avoid a 200 euro fine?

Low emission zones in Spain, what are they, how do you avoid a 200 euro fine? Source: DGT

The new traffic regulations that came into force in Spain earlier this year also covers low emission zones (LEZs), but do you know what they are, whether you can drive through them and how do you avoid a 200 euro fine?

According to reports today the Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has said that he wants to introduce LEZs across the country, with the Ministry for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge working on the draft of the definitive regulations. The new regulations will be in place by 2023 and will affect all municipalities with more than 50,000 inhabitants and those with more than 20,000 where there is high pollution.

Pedestrians and cyclists have priority

As is the law on the roads generally pedestrians and cyclists have priority followed by public transport, high occupancy and shared mobility vehicles. At the back of the queue are private and commercial vehicles.

In terms of the cars, some 25 million cars identified as being C, E, R or O have priority over all others, including ECO vehicles. Those without either of these designations, private vehicles, or who have a B and C designation will have less or restricted access.

B and C cars refer to the average vehicle on the road according to the DGT, C being those that comply with the latest EU emissions (petrol manufactured after January 2006, light diesel manufactured after September 2015).

O emissions refers to those that are most efficient, battery electric (BEV), extended range electric (REEV), plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV) with a range of 40 km or fuel cell vehicles.

Vehicle restrictions

Those towns and cities will have some leeway in what is enforced, so for example one area may prohibit access in LEZs to vehicles categorised as B while another may opt to do so for vehicle category C as well.

The rules are all about improving the quality of air, as well as the different criteria that they must meet in terms of monitoring and control to verify improvements in pollution levels. Towns and cities will be required under the law to account for the change every four years.

Currently a fine of 200 euros is applicable to anyone who enters a LEZ with the wrong vehicle, and for most of us that is fine. However if you are visiting a city such as Madrid be careful as these zones are already in force.

If you are not sure what category your car is you can find about entering your registration number on the DGT site.

Forewarned is forearmed so check it out, make sure you are aware before the new regulations that will control low emissions zones comes into force in Spain. That way you can avoid a nasty 200 euro fine.

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Written by

Peter McLaren-Kennedy

Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at editorial@euroweeklynews.com.