Madrid Bans Most Polluting Cars

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Madrid Bans Most Polluting Cars

Spanish authorities in Madrid have activated an anti-pollution order that will significantly restrict private vehicles in Madrid city centre.

Spain's capital city is aiming to reduce air pollution by up to 40%. These tough measures will mean that Spanish motorists will have to test their vehicles' emissions, with the oldest and most polluting vehicles being banned from Madrid.


The area of the Capital that will have restrictions will cover a 472-hectare low-emission zone in the heart of the city.


If caught in the city, Petrol vehicles manufactured before 2000 and diesel ones registered prior to 2006 will face a 90 euro fine. Only public buses, taxis, residents and some professional vehicles will be exempt from the order. Electric, zero-emission cars will be allowed in the new control zone.


Some local politicians have said that the plan will not have any great effect on air quality and it is just a publicity stunt by the city’s mayor, Manuela Carmena.


Madrid Bans Polluting Cars


The move is also to help reduce noise and encourage more cycling in the city. The Madrid City Council estimates that the project, which was launched on Friday and labelled Madrid Central, will affect about 20% of the cars that enter the city centre.


Restrictions for those entering the designated low emission zone vary depending on the type of vehicle and its "label", which is issued following emissions tests. For example, hybrid cars with an "eco-label" are permitted to drive freely in the centre and use public or designated car parks with no time restrictions.


Residents who live within the controlled zone can drive freely at any time once registered, but can only park on their own street. The centre of the city is marked with red lines on the roads affected and there are also road signs displaying red circles at the point of entry which is being policed with surveillance cameras.


Madrid is not the only capital city to focus on improving its air quality. How are other European cities tackling pollution? Paris, Mexico City and Athens have all pledged to ban diesel vehicles from city centres by 2025.


Madrid Central

Measures implemented by other cities include:


  • Banning cars built prior to 1997 from entering the city centre during weekdays between 08:00 and 20:00
  • An additional ban on all diesel vehicles registered before 2001
  • A strategy to phase out older vehicles and remove all diesels from the centre, while offering generous subsidies for other forms of transport
  • Plan to pedestrianise the city centre


  • Introduced a congestion charge for vehicles entering the centre
  • Set up a park-and-ride bus service to encourage drivers to leave their vehicles on the outskirts
  • Adopted an Urban Mobility Strategy initiative, investing in public transport systems buses, trams and the subway


  • Introduced a congestion charge for many vehicles entering the city centre
  • Established a 24-hour low emission zone targeting diesel vehicles throughout the Greater London area
  • To introduce an "ultra-low emission zone" promoting tighter exhaust emission standards in the city centre from April 2019
  • Set up "Cycle Superhighways" to make it safer to cycle throughout the city

Madrid Central Road Markings


Justin Kavanagh
Justin Kavanagh is a recognised leader in automotive intelligence and vehicle data supply to the entire motor industry. He has almost 20 years experience in building systems from the ground up. As the Managing Director of Vehicle Management System, he understands the need and importance of trustworthy and reliable vehicle history and advice to both the trade and the public.
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