Most frequently asked questions by municipalities about the Low Emissions Zone. Part 2/2
As many doubts are arisen in reference to the implementation of a Low Emissions Zone (LEZ), we have dedicated a second article to respond the questions that appeared during conversations with the different municipalities that are already taking action in their cities.
In this article, we will answer the following questions:
- When will the LEZ be extended? Why is it not yet applied to municipalities with more than 20,000 people?
- Could a whole city be considered as a LEZ?
- What vehicles can enter the LEZ?
- What means of transport have priority in a LEZ?
- What improvements are usually made to public transport in the city?
- Is it necessary that LEZs are incorporated into the Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP)?
So, we continue with the thread of questions from the previous article, and start the second part.
When will the LEZ be extended? Why is it not yet applied to municipalities with more than 20,000 people?
According to the Law on Climate Change, it is already planned to apply LEZs in municipalities with more than 20,000 people when the contaminant limits detailed in the RD 102/2011, of January 28, regarding the improvement of air quality are exceeded.
However, the most likely trend will be to gradually increase the scope of action, until national and European objectives are met, as happens in Catalonia with the
Institutional Agreement to improve air quality, that was recently announced by the press.
Could a whole city be considered as a LEZ?
Yes, there is no mandatory limit. In any case, the delimitation will have to be designed depending on the case in order to meet the objectives of the LEZ.
Considering the design, the origin and destination of the journeys, whose reduction or modal change must be taken into account in the project, it is important to avoid the “border effect”. That is, the movement of vehicles and their impact on air or acoustic quality from the restricted area to adjacent areas.
Additionally, in larger cities, and at least in those with more than 100,000 people, one or more LEZs will be designed so that the largest possible percentage of their population can benefit.
What vehicles can enter the LEZ?
It is recommended that each municipality establish a calendar and a scaling of restrictions based on the environmental label and type of vehicle, which must be set in the municipal ordinance.
Citizen participation is vital so that it can be anticipated and adapted properly.
In any case, those vehicles meeting the established degree of pollution can access the LEZ. The access, circulation and parking of vehicles is prohibited and limited depending on their degree of pollution, mainly affecting type A vehicles and, progressively, B and C.
In addition, when access to motor vehicles is allowed, priority will be given to zero-emission vehicles.
One option is to perform this scaling by stages, as the Barcelona Metropolitan Area (AMB) does. Its model was set in three stages, all of them affecting light vehicles such as motorcycles and mopeds (L) and cars (M1) without environmental label:
- Cars (M1) with gasoline engines prior to the Euro 3 standard (usually registered before 2000); cars with diesel engines prior to the Euro 4 standard (usually registered before 2005 or 2006).
- Motorcycles and mopeds (category L) prior to the Euro 2 standard (usually registered before 2003).
Vans (N1), trucks (N2, N3) and buses (M2, M3) without an environmental label would be progressively affected.
What means of transport have priority in a LEZ?
The aim of the LEZ is a modal change towards more sustainable means of transport, according to this hierarchy:
- 1st. Pedestrians
- 2nd. Bicycles
- 3rd. Public transport
- 4th. High occupancy and shared mobility vehicles
- 5th. Private motor cars
In urban freight transport, zero-emission vehicles, cycle logistics and environmental optimization solutions for deliveries will be boosted.
What improvements are usually made to public transport in the city?
Improvements can be observed in the following measures:
- Reorganization of public transport lines and enhancement of connections and frequency between the LEZ and the urban perimeter.
- Provision of reserved or preferential lanes for public transport to reduce traffic congestion.
- Digitization and information to users by means of information boards, applications or information on board, for example.
- Electrification of bus fleets.
- Multimodal integration with other means of sustainable transport.
Is it necessary that LEZs are incorporated into the Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP)?
Indeed. The Law on Climate Change establishes that affected municipalities are required to adopt, before 2023, sustainable urban mobility plans that introduce mitigation measures that allow reducing emissions derived from mobility. These plans must include, among other measures, the establishment of LEZs.
If the current SUMP is not consistent with the LEZ project, it would have to be updated, according to the RD proposal.
In this article, we wanted to answer a new group of the most frequently asked questions that have arisen in different conversations with municipalities. We have gone into more detail on some of the more ambiguous regulatory issues, and into some of the considerations to take into account when planning LEZ projects.
Remember that the first part of the article is also at your disposal. In this, address some of the MITECO news related to air quality, climate change, noise, energy efficiency and modality, as well as other issues related to mobility, sustainability and the environment.
Please find below a list of other articles about LEZs that can be of your interest:
- AMB-ZBE: The data platform for a smarter city
- What is the Low Emissions Zone and what phases are necessary to implement it
- Learn about the modules of the LEZ management plataform
- [WEBINAR] How to implement a management platform in a LEZ
- [WEBINAR] The 4 stages to implement a management platform in a LEZ
- The roadmap to implement a Low Emissions Zone step by step
- Why choose a cloud platform for the management of the LEZ
- How does a Low Emissions Zone work?