Driving in Spain - Low Emission Zones LEZs
Spanish Low Emission Zones LEZs - From January 1st, 2023 New low emissions zones are being introduced across 149 towns and cities.
LEZ rules affect all cities with more than 50,000 inhabitants as well as island territories and municipalities with more than 20,000 inhabitants with air quality harmful to health, currently there are 149 municipalities in Spain that are included in the LEZ rules.
The cities/towns in the Community of Valencia which have more than 50,000 inhabitants include - Alicante, Alcoi (Alicante), Benidorm (Alicante), Castellón de la Plana, Elche (Alicante), Elda (Alicante), Gandia (Valencia), Orihuela (Alicante), Paterna (Valencia), Sagunto ( Valencia), San Vicente del Raspeig (Alicante), Torrent (Valencia), Torrevieja (Alicante) and Valencia.
The new ZBE low emissions zones are fairly new to Spain and are being rolled out over the course of 2023. The rules are implemented by each municipality, under the broad framework of the DGT, so there is no one size fits all legislation. It is recommend that you check in advance with any municipality that you are thinking of visiting.
Each town hall must decide how to implement this, and traffic signs will be placed at the beginning of the zones to inform drivers, therefore if you have not seen any signs yet, it is because they are still planning where/if/how to do this.
The town halls are those that enforce and set fine levels, and it appears that they have decided on 200€ as the appropriate penalty for entering a zone without the relevant sticker. (The stickers are stuck on the inside of car windscreens, and are automatically read by camera) Zones are currently being set up in Benidorm, and are due to be fully operational by the end of this year. There are NO fully operational schemes at this moment in our province.
What are Low Emission Zones (LEZs)?
They are areas delimited by a public administration in which access and parking to certain vehicles is restricted according to their emissions, with the aim of improving air quality.
HOW TO OBTAIN AN EMISSIONS STICKER
You can obtain one of the new emissions stickers from a local gestoría or online via the Correos website but the easiest method is probably at a main Correos offices. Don’t worry if you don’t speak Spanish, just print off and fill out the attached form to take with you. You can also download it here:
How much does the DGT sticker cost?
The environmental label of the DGT costs 5€, delivery fees can be an additional charge.
Does my vehicle qualify?
As a guide all electric, hybrid and gas powered vehicles, and petrol cars and light commercials that are EURO 4,5 or 6 along with diesel vehicles that are EURO 6 qualify for the environmental sticker.
You can check which sticker is a available for your vehicle here on the DGT website:
There are 4 categories available to cars and light vans as follows:
🔵 0 - BLUE - NO RESTRICTION
This category includes: Battery powered electric vehicles, extended range electric vehicles, plug in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) with an autonomous range of 40km or more, LPG vehicles and other gas powered vehicles.
🔵/🟢ECO - GREEN / BLUE - SOME RESTRICTIONS
This category includes: non plug-in hybrids, hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV’s) with an autonomous range of less than 40 kms. There will be some restrictions to this type of vehicle, which will be determined by individual town halls.
🟢 C - GREEN - RESTRICTIONS
This covers petrol cars & light vans registered from 2006 onwards and diesel vehicles registered from 2014 onwards. Generally speaking category C vehicles cannot enter Low Emission Zones, although rules are implemented on a town by town basis so for example in Madrid, C category vehicles are allowed to enter some LEZ's to go to car parks etc.
🟡 B - YELLOW - NOT PERMITTED TO ENTER ZBE's
Petrol vehicles registered after January 2000 or diesel vehicles from 2006 to 2014 will be restricted from entering Low Emissions Zones.
❌ A - NO STICKER AVAILABLE - NOT PERMITTED
According to estimates, approximately 32% of cars & light vans will not be able to enter, due to the fact that they are too old to meet the strict emissions requirements and consequently do not qualify for a sticker.
Spanish Low Emission Zones
Where should the DGT sticker placed?
Sitting in the car looking out, the DGT sticker should be placed in the lower right corner of the windshield.
Is it mandatory to carry the DGT label?
You are not obliged to carry the environmental badge on the vehicle, since its placement is voluntary, but if it is not visible you will not be able to benefit from the advantages of having an Eco or Zero sticker, and you could be fined by the control cameras recognising your license plate number when entering these zones.
What fine does it entail irregularly entering an LEZ?
If you enter irregularly in an LEZ zone, the fine amounts to 200€, as according to the last reform of Traffic Law it is considered a serious infraction.
Can a foreign vehicle obtain a New Environment Sticker? No, a foreign vehicle can not, but some may still be able to drive in one of the new low emission zones - If your vehicle already has an emissions sticker issued in its country of registration, then it may be able to be used, but you would need to check the corresponding Spanish emissions category for your vehicle.
Which countries are automatically accepted? EU countries whose emissions stickers are automatically accepted are Austria, Denmark, France and Germany, but it would be necessary to look for the corresponding Spanish emissions sticker to make sure they match.
What about UK Vehicles? At the time of writing, UK vehicles are not automatically accepted, and they are likely to have to be registered within the municipality where they are needed to be used. The only current example of this is Barcelona where the owner can register to use their vehicle.
As this is such a new system, we are sure there will be more information and updates available in the near future and the information above will be kept as up to date as possible.
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