Ordinance that will regulate the low emissions zone approved definitively and effective from 15 june

Road traffic is the main source of pollution in Bilbao, affecting both air quality and the acoustic well being of its inhabitants. Every yea r, air pollution is responsible for almost 10 000 deaths in Spain, a figure higher even than the number of deaths due to road accidents.

The City Council of Bilbao, fully aware of these challenges, has approved an ordinance that sets out clear rules for t he introduction of the LEZ with the primary goal of improving public health and air quality, encouraging walking and cycling or the use public transport, informing the public of their duties and rights, and complying with legal obligations.

The design of this ordinance was developed with consideration both for future air quality requirements and for the current situation in Bilbao. To achieve this, an exhaustive study was conducted of the vehicle fleet in circulation in the last year.

This included more th an 100 000 measurements taken at three different control points. The study, which was supplemented by an analysis of the city’s air quality to parametrise the departure point and the goals to be met, concluded that almost 50% of the vehicles circulating in the city are category A or B vehicles.

In addition, data were collected on people’s mobility habits, with the aim of obtaining an overall view of the perspectives, needs, disposition and understanding regarding this measure. The study revealed the import ance the public give to the adoption of measures to reduce pollution from road traffic, rating it with a score of 8.2 out of 10.

Regulations and exemptions
The ordinance classifies vehicles by their polluting potential into categories according to their environmental rating as set out in Royal Decree 2822/1998, of 23 December:

  • Low polluting vehicle: Zero emissions, ECO and C vehicles
  • Polluting vehicle: B vehicles
  • High polluting vehicle: A vehicles or vehicles without a label

Anyone can consult the environmental category of their vehicle on the web page of the Directorate General of Traffic.

It should be noted once again that in Bilbao, it will not be necessary to display a physical label or sign on the vehicle or request one previously. The control of access to the LEZ will be carried out using a system of cameras that read the vehicle registration plates, connected to the municipal and DGT databases.

In accordance with the ordinance approved, from 15 June 2024, vehicles which are considered low polluting, bicycles and pedal assisted bicycles, other cycles and personal mobility vehicles, will be permitted to circulate freely in the LEZ.

Access, circulation and parking in the LEZ will be restricted for polluting vehicles (B) and highly polluting vehicles (A) at certain times.

The regulation will be applicable on workdays, from Monday to Friday, from 07.00 to 20.00 hours. Anyone failing to comply with the regulation will be subject to fines that may amount to as much as 200 Euro, pursuant to that established by the Law on Traffic, Motor Vehicles and Road Safety.

In light of these restrictions, exemptions have been established for certain vehicles and situations, and for vehicles belonging to residents of the LEZ prior to the effective date of the ordinance, vehicles used for transporting persons with reduced mobility, emergency and essential services, historic vehicles and mopeds of less than 50 cc and a maximum design speed of 45 km/h.

The ordinance lists these exemptions as well as the transitory periods that will apply to the rest of sitory periods that will apply to the rest of the group.

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