Spain environmental zones
What about environmental zones in Spain, and in which cities do you need an environmental sticker? Below it is explained in detail!
Environmental zones Spain
- Spain has also introduced environmental zones in line with other European countries.
- Madrid and Barcelona have an environmental zone (zona de bajas emisiones; low-emission zone) that is only accessible for vehicles with a valid environmental sticker.
The Spanish government plans to have all 148 Spanish municipalities with more than 50,000 inhabitants and some with more than 20,000 and the islands introduce an environmental zone by 2023. The environmental zones are indicated by the sign with the environmental stickers of authorized vehicles.
APR: zone only for permit holders
- Environmental zones are being set up in some Spanish cities to improve air quality and create more space for local residents. These car-free zones are indicated by signs with the inscription Area de prioridad residencial (APR, zone only accessible to permit holders).
- Running into an APR can result in hefty fines and it is important to pay close attention to the signs and not to ignore them. Cameras check.
- When booking a hotel room within an APR, it is advisable to contact the hotel owner in advance to ask if an exemption has been requested.
- Disabled people must comply with strict, locally determined rules to be allowed to enter an APR. More information is available from the local authorities.
- The Spanish environmental sticker (distintivo ambiental) is not available for foreign registered vehicles.
- A Danish, German, French or Austrian environmental sticker is also valid in Spain. Here you can see which foreign stickers correspond to which Spanish ones.
- If you do not yet have an environmental sticker, buy the French Crit’Air vignette before you travel, which is also useful when passing through France (delivery time approximately 10 days, see Environmental zones in France). If you are already in Spain and you do not have a valid sticker, park outside the city.
- Special permits are also available for the environmental zones of Madrid and Barcelona. See below for more information.
- There are four environmental stickers (distintivos ambientales):
- Blue – 0: no emissions.
- Green-blue – eco: hybrid and gas-powered vehicles that meet the criteria of the green sticker.
- Green – C: petrol cars registered in 2006 or later; diesel cars registered in 2014 or later; vehicles with more than 8 seats and heavy vehicles, both gasoline and diesel, registered in 2014 or later. Petrol vehicles must comply with Euro standard 4, 5 or 6 and diesel vehicles with Euro standard 6.
- Yellow – B: petrol cars registered in 2000-2013; diesel cars registered in 2006-2013; vehicles with more than 8 seats and heavy vehicles, both petrol and diesel, registered in 2005-2013. Gasoline vehicles must comply with Euro standard 3 Euro 3 standard and diesel vehicles with Euro standard 4 or 5.
- There is no sticker for other vehicles.
- The stickers are available at the Spanish post offices and cost € 5.
- Madrid has a permanent environmental zone that covers almost the entire city center. The zone bears the name Madrid Central.
- Only vehicles belonging to residents and vehicles with a valid blue or green-blue environmental sticker are allowed to drive in the environmental zone. With a green-blue sticker, the parking time is limited to 2 hours.
- For foreign vehicles without a French or other valid foreign environmental sticker (see the information above under Environmental sticker), an environmental class accreditation is required. Make an appointment with the Oficina de Madrid Central in Calle Bustamante 16, telephone 010-91 529 82 10 or +34-10-91 529 82 10, website www-s.munimadrid.es/CitaNet/Concertar.do.
- The zone is clearly indicated by signs with the inscription Atención – Trafico Restringido and the Madrid Central logo.
- For more information about the environmental zone of Madrid, see madrid.es (search for ‘Zona de Bajas Emisiones’ and click on ‘Madrid Central – Zona de Bajas Emisiones’ (for a map click on ‘Ámbito territorial’) and esmadrid.com/en/driving-madrid (website of the Spanish tourist board).
- In the event of persistent serious air pollution, the permanent zone can be temporarily extended to include the M-30 ring road and, in the event of extreme air pollution, to the entire municipality of Madrid.
Designation environmental zone Madrid
- In Madrid, the environmental zone is indicated by white signs with the text ‘Madrid Central’.
- Barcelona and the surrounding area have a permanent environmental zone.
- The environmental zone is in effect from Monday to Friday (Catalan: de dilluns a divendres) from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. The zone is then only accessible to: foreign vehicles with a valid foreign environmental sticker (see the information above under Environmental sticker); Spanish vehicles with a valid Spanish environmental sticker; vehicles with a long-term permit; vehicles with a day permit (valid for one day; maximum ten days per year).
- The following foreign vehicles are eligible for a long-term permit: electric vehicles; engines (category L) with a Euro standard 2 or higher; passenger cars (category M1) and vans (category N1) with petrol engines with Euro standard 3 or higher; passenger cars (category M1) and vans (category N1) with diesel engines with Euro standard 4 or higher; trucks (category N2, N3) and buses (category M2, M3) with Euro standard 4 or higher.
- The following are eligible for a day permit: vehicles without an environmental sticker; foreign vehicles without a long-term permit.
- If you are in a hurry, you can apply for a day permit. A long-term permit can take fifteen working days (a week or three).
- Comprehensive and up-to-date information on Barcelona’s environmental zone can be found here and here (both sites in Catalan, English and Spanish).
- You can apply for a long-term or day permit for Barcelona here (Catalan, English and Spanish).
Barcelona environmental zone designation
- The environmental zone in Barcelona is indicated by signs: Zona Baixes Emissiones. The sign states which environmental stickers and vehicles are allowed and when the environmental zone is in effect.
Here you will find more information about Spain.