The Plenary of the Madrid City Council has approved this Monday afternoon the Sustainable Mobility Ordinance that launches a new low-emission zone in the capital similar to Madrid Central, but with some modifications such as the permission for merchants to cross again the central district with its vehicles, something that will mean that 45,000 more vehicles can enter. The Government of José Luis Martínez-Almeida has managed to carry out the measure thanks to the votes of the mixed group formed by the four councilors who broke with Más Madrid last March. The new ordinance is approved just a few days before Madrid Central falls after the ruling of the Superior Court of Justice of Madrid that declared Manuela Carmena’s measure illegal and that the Supreme Court ratified after an appeal by Almeida when he was in the opposition.
With the new ordinance, which will come into force when it is published in the Official Gazette of the Community of Madrid (BOCM) in the next few days – predictably between Friday and Tuesday of next week – the corporation led by Almeida makes practically its own the entire regulation of Madrid Central. That changes? The area it covers remains intact and also the general limitations to enter, but there are two modifications, all of low draft: it will be renamed the Central District, and it will be open to access to the 15,000 merchants with three invitations per establishment that have businesses in their interior with the same rights as residents.
The ordinance also establishes another new low-emission zone in Plaza Elíptica, another critical point in terms of pollution in the capital. In this new ZBE the entry of vehicles without environmental label (A), the most polluting, is limited in 17 streets. The rest of the vehicles will be able to enter without restrictions, something different to the new Madrid Central.
“It is necessary to impose restrictions, but we believe it is better to impose selective restrictions. We will prohibit from January 1 the circulation of cars A within the M-30. This will prevent 14,000 trips in the city; two new low-emission zones are created , one in Plaza Elíptica, the black point of pollution in Madrid. With this measure, mitrogen dioxide emissions will be reduced by 10% “, said the delegate for the Environment, Borja Carabante. Carabante has valued that 33% of the amendments presented by the opposition have been approved.
“Central Madrid remains almost essentially because Central Madrid has improved the quality of the city,” said the Councilor for Citizens during his speech. Then, Deputy Mayor Begoña Villacís, also from Ciudadanos, has taken credit for Almeida giving up on ending the low-emission zone. “We were not going to allow Madrid to be the only European capital without its low emissions zone,” he defended.
A rough debate
However, the optimism of Carabante and Ciudadanos is not shared by Más Madrid, PSOE and Vox. And the debate has been harsh this Monday in Cibeles. The three formations have voted against the ordinance: Más Madrid and PSOE because they consider the measure a “setback”; Vox because Almeida does not fulfill his electoral promise to end the low emission zone. Those of Javier Ortega Smith They demand the elimination of the area of low emissions that circumscribes the district of Centro. The far-right formation has made a plea denying the climate crisis and has proposed a model similar to that of London, which charges citizens to enter the downtown area, while defending that the new ordinance harms the public. most vulnerable.
In the case of Más Madrid, Rita Maestre, has criticized the “setback”, which in her opinion, represents the initiative promoted by the Government of PP and Citizens. Maestre has defended that with the Government of Almeida the city “goes backwards” and has assured that it is “a lost errand” that is “old-fashioned”.
In the case of Recupera Madrid, it has been the councilor of the Mixed Group José Manuel Calvo who has defended support for the ordinance. Calvo has assured that the councilors have voted in favor of “conviction and responsibility” and to ensure that “the policies of (Manuela) Carmena return.” “The blackmail policies are over and I agree with him – Vox – Carmena’s policies have come back to stay because it is a continuity ordinance, which delves into the limitation of traffic,” Calvo has defended, highlighting that the text sets the prohibition to circulate to unlabeled vehicles since January 1, 2025. The mayor has defended that his votes “save Central Madrid” and has focused on the fact that although there are issues that they do not like, it is PP and Citizens who govern “.