Nearly 150 Spanish cities to roll low-emission zones in 2023

Madrid street

by Peter Schulte

September 06, 2022 C.E.

Dozens of the largest Spanish cities are preparing to launch “low-emissions zones” (LEZs) in 2023 as part of the European nation’s bid to reduce its carbon emissions and combat climate change, according to Clean Technica. Such zones are already in place in the Spanish cities of Madrid, Barcelona, and Seville and will soon be a requirement of all cities of more than 50,000 inhabitants due to the country’s 2021 Climate Change and Energy Transition Law.

While what exactly constitutes a “low-emission zone” is still lacking detail, LEZs generally seek to limit what types of vehicles are able to access, move through, and park in a given area of town. Priority is given to bicycles, buses, electric vehicles, and other zero- or low-emissions vehicles, while gas-powered cars are either restricted partially or entirely. Ultimately, these zones are meant to incentivize a transition to low-carbon modes of transportation in densely-populated areas.

In addition to cities of more than 50,000 inhabitants, the law also applies to towns of more than 20,000 people with known high-pollution incidents. Altogether, this is projected to include up to 150 of Spain’s most populated towns. Beyond the obvious climate-related benefits, LEZs are also intended to bring public health benefits due to reduced air pollution.

While LEZs have already been implemented around the world – including in London, Beijing, Tokyo, Paris, and Berlin – the move will likely make Spain the global leader in LEZ adoption by the number of cities implementing them and the proportion of the population using them regularly.


Era: Today (2017 C.E. - 2024 C.E.)
Year: 2022 C.E.
Topic: Clean & renewable energy, Climate crisis, and Technology & innovation
Region: Europe
Country: Spain
Actor Type: Cities and Nations