Spain’s Delay In Implementing Low Emission Zones

Spanish Cities Slow To Action LEZ's

Car emissions. Credit: Paolo Bona/

IS Spain keeping pace with its environmental commitments?

The start of 2024 brings into focus a significant environmental policy with the establishment of Low Emission Zones (LEZs).

According to the Spanish government’s Climate Change Law enacted in 2021, cities with populations exceeding 50,000 are required to limit traffic for high-polluting vehicles.

Widespread Non-Compliance Across Cities

Despite the mandate, as of January 2024, numerous Spanish cities have yet to initiate LEZ projects.

Some notable examples include Sanlucar de Barrameda, Valdemoro, Motril, Mijas, El Puerto de Santa Maria, Ferrol, Cerdanyola del Valles, Coslada, Barakaldo, Arganda del Rey, and Aranjuez.

This shortfall also extends to most towns in the Canary and Balearic Islands, as reported by MITECO (Ministry for the Ecological Transition).

Exceptions And Extensions

In contrast, some cities are in the process of obtaining approvals for their LEZs. However, Badalona and Gijon stand out for announcing they won’t have operational LEZs in 2024.

Badalona’s mayor, Xavier Garcia Albiol, has deferred their zone’s activation to January 2027. Conversely, Gijon‘s new council government has repealed the prior ordinance, with no fixed date for establishing their LEZ.

The Cost Of Non-Compliance

The Climate Change Law compels municipalities with LEZs to enforce penalties for violations. The standardised fine for vehicles without a DGT label illegally entering these zones is €200. This unified approach aims to ensure consistency in enforcement across different regions.

As we step into 2024, it is evident that Spain faces challenges in meeting its environmental goals.

The delayed implementation of LEZs in several cities raises questions about the country’s commitment to reducing emissions and combating climate change. It also highlights the need for stronger enforcement mechanisms and possibly reevaluating the strategies to ensure timely compliance.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.


    • John Higgins

      03 January 2024 • 08:39

      Regarding the implementation of LEZ in the relevant cities and the hesitancy of some not to do so due to factors such as financial distress being experianced by many due to the Ukraine crisis amongst others, why does the Spanish Government not introduce a Pay as yo go system, where motorists rarely entering such cities could pay for a daily pass rather than having the added financial burden of purchasing a newer compliant vehicle.

      • Robert Marshall

        03 January 2024 • 16:17

        Correct it’s a money making racket , so if you pay you can pollute the air hmmm sounds a bit fishy. Not long till the green tax on our payslips to fund the big boys wars and woke madness, satan is running amok .

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