Introduction (goal, intention, purpose)
In the course of the implementation of European directives, the Spanish government has, since the end of 2013, created the framework conditions that allow cities and municipalities or regions of the country to set up environmental zones so that the pollution limits for citizens prescribed by the EU are not exceeded.
The LEZs are defined by the respective cities and municipalities or regions within their borders and allow driving only with prior registration of the vehicle.
It should be noted that vehicles registered in Spain do not have to register because they are already registered in the national databaseand require a Distintivo-Ambiental sticker.
Initially, only the Spanish environmental sticker was intended for the control of environmental zones. However, as these can only be obtained by vehicles registered in Spain, Barcelona has taken a special path and has also introduced registration since 2020 for vehicles registered abroad.
The basis for the introduction of environmental zones in the country has been laid since 2013 with the National Air Quality and Air Protection Plan.
These are based on a resolution of 13.04.2016, which classifies and describes the stickers. Prior to this, DGT had already prepared the corresponding specifications on 07.04.2015 with instruction 15/V-110.
The complete allocation of vehicle types such as light bicycles, cars, trucks and buses to the categories of the Spanish environmental stickers was then regulated in the regulation PCI/810/2018 of 27 July 2018.
Features (appearance, description)
The following vehicles are affected by the Barcelona low emission zones and require registration on entry:
Motorbike (L), Car, motorhome (M1), minibus (M2), coach (M3), van (N1), truck (N2-N3)
Not affected are agricultural and forestry machinery.
Which stickers / registration do I get? (classification)
In Barcelona, the check of an authorised entry in an environmental zone is not only carried out by the police but, above all, by intelligent cameras (Automatic Number Plate Recognition = ANPR).
These fixed and mobile cameras capture each vehicle registration number and match it with a central database. If the vehicle owner has not registered its car for the the Barcelona environmental zone before entering, he will receive a fine notice between 200 euros and 1800 euros from the respective authorities. In the case of more offences, the fine increases by a further 30%.
Important to know for foreigners:
From a fine of 70 euros or more, according to EU Directive 2011/82 of 25.10.2011 "to facilitate the cross-border exchange of information on traffic offences which jeopardise road safety", if the fine is not paid, enforcement proceedings will take place in the home country and will continue until the prison sentence is passed.
How long is my registration valid?
Unless the engine or the exhaust emission standard of the vehicle or the registration number changes, the registration is valid for 2 years. This means that a new registration does not have to be made every year. It is possible that in the future the access restrictions will be tightened. In this case, the registration expires if the required Euronorm can no longer be met. When, who and for how long is allowed to enter, you will find under the point "Which stickers/ registration do I get (classification)".
Do I have to carry the confirmation with me?
The registration for Barcelona is completely digital. The license plate is entered into a database with possible data on the particulate filter, so that the cameras detect a positive match. Since the matching of the number plate is done by the cameras, nothing has to be stuck to the windscreen or similar. As soon as the confirmation of registration has been received, the low emission zones can be entered. It is also not necessary to carry the operation in the vehicle.
What happens if my license plate changes?
As soon as the registration number is changed, e.g. by moving house, a new registration must be made.
Is the registration also valid for other low emission zones?
The registration is only valid for the low emission zone in Barcelona.
For other environmental zones in in Spain, either the Distintivo-Ambiental must be purchased or the entry rules must be followed.