Barcelona will ban all cars over 20 years old from roads on weekdays, in an effort to cut down on harmful emissions.
It’s hoped that the ban will cut emissions from traffic by 30% over a 15 year period. It will be a joint initiative between the Catalan government, the city council, and metropolitan planning bodies, and is set to come into force on 1st January 2019. The ban will cover the city of Barcelona, as well as 39 municipalities surrounding it.
All private cars registered before January 1997, and all vans registered before October 1984 will be banned. These types of vehicle are already sporadically banned during high pollution periods, but from 2019, will be completely unable to drive on any weekday – regardless of the pollution level that day.
According to the city council, 106,000 cars (7% of the total driven in the affected area) will be banned, and 22,000 vans (16% of the total).
The city’s deputy mayor for the environment, urban planning and transport, Janet Sanz, said “[The aim] is to reduce emissions by 10% over the next five years to gradually reach the levels recommended by the World Health Organisation and accelerate the adoption of more intensive local measures in order to reach the levels set by the EU before 2020. The people of Barcelona have told us clearly in surveys that they want to fight against air pollution because it is a health problem of the first order.”
Those who give up their vehicles will be offered free public transport instead, which could prove to be a strong incentive for easy, short journeys.
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Author Lex Barber