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Spanish Low Emission Zones explained

There are currently 5 low emission zones in Spain. These are in Madrid, Barcelona, Seville, Valencia and Valladolid. Only the zone in Barcelona is permanently valid. The other zones are weather-related air protection zones and are only activated in the event of severe air pollution. Which vehicles are then banned is not generally specified. Depending on the degree of air pollution, the government decides which vehicles may continue to enter.

The permanently valid zone in Barcelona is active from Monday to Friday from 7 am to 8 pm. The rules of the low emission zone refer to the type of vehicle as well as the Euro standard and the fuel of the vehicle. Motorbikes and mopeds, i.e. vehicles in category L, for example, need at least Euro standard 2. Diesel cars are only allowed to enter with Euro standard 4, while petrol cars are still allowed with Euro 3. For buses and trucks, other regulations apply again. Spanish vehicles need a sticker to ensure that they are labelled. Non-Spanish vehicles, on the other hand, cannot obtain a sticker; instead, they need to be registered in order to be allowed to enter. Applying for a sticker takes a little longer, as it has to be issued by the Spanish authorities. The sticker is then valid indefinitely as long as the registration number does not change or the sticker is not damaged. Registration for foreign vehicles is electronic and can therefore be done within a few working days. The registration is then valid for 2 years.

In Madrid, a permanent low emission zone was recently abolished due to legal shortcomings, and a new one is already being planned.

In the next few years, the number of low emission zones in the popular holiday destination Spain will increase enormously. A new law requires all cities with more than 50,000 inhabitants to set up an environmental zone.

The switch to electric is also slowly picking up speed in Spain. In 2020, just over 40,000 e-cars were newly registered, compared to only about 17,000 in 2019 and 11,000 before that. The government subsidises the switch to electric with up to 4000 euros. The prerequisite for the subsidy is partly also the scrapping of a vehicle that is at least 7 or 10 years old.

If you want to know more about the exact regulations in the Spanish environmental zones, go to https://www.green-zones.eu/en/low-emission-zones/spain or download our Green-Zones app. You can get the sticker or registration for your vehicle in the online shop: https://www.green-zones.eu/en/products