The Justice has annulled the Barcelona plan to veto polluting cars, the so-called Low Emissions Zone (ZBE). In a ruling, the Superior Court of Justice of Catalonia (TSJC) annuls the most ambitious measure of the Ada Colau consistory to reduce pollution levels with criticism against the City Council for causing “a negative effect on people with less purchasing power”, that they cannot exchange the car for one with an environmental badge.
Vans and trucks without an environmental label can no longer circulate in Barcelona
The ZBE of Barcelona affects the Catalan capital and four adjoining cities in a total of 95 square kilometers and prohibits the most polluting vehicles – those that do not have an environmental label from the General Directorate of Traffic (DGT) – from circulating on weekdays, 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., with the exception of heavy trucks, coaches and special service vehicles. After postponing its entry into force due to the pandemic, Barcelona began fining cars and vans without an environmental label just over a year ago to try to reduce the city’s pollution levels, which caused the death of 351 people in 2018.
According to the magistrates, the municipal ordinance that prohibits polluting cars has “deficiencies in its preparation”, such as determining reports. In addition, for the judges “it exceeds” in the geographical scope of application (which includes several roads in the metropolitan area) and in the type of vehicles excluded. The judgment is appealable before the Supreme Court.
Once the fund of the resources of the transport companies has been analyzed, the judges take the opposite decision to the one they adopted a year and a half ago, when they refused to provisionally suspend the ZBE by prioritizing the right to health over the economic consequences for carriers and families who were forced to change their car.
Now the conclusion is the opposite. Despite considering the veto on polluting cars to be “reasonable”, the judges ruled that the City Council did not consider the “social consequences” of prohibiting the vehicles that expel the most carbon dioxide from circulating.
“From the moment that driving around the city of Barcelona on working days and hours is conditioned to the renewal of the vehicle without an environmental label, there is no doubt that the most affected are the groups that do not have the economic capacity to change their vehicle for one with a green label. environmental and intend to continue circulating in Barcelona ”, resolves the Administrative Litigation Chamber of the TSJC.