As of January 1st, 2020, a new traffic restriction was imposed in Barcelona: The Low Emissions Zone, or ZBE. However, since January 1st is a national holiday, the ZBE became active on January 2nd, 2020.
Don’t worry, the first few months are to let you get accustomed to the ZBE and, as such, vehicles that enter the ZBE will not receive a fine, but an informative letter. As of April 1st, 2020, they will begin to fine drivers for entering the ZBE. The amount of the fine for entering the ZBE will range from 100€ to 1,800€.
The Low Emissions Zone covers the city of Barcelona (except for the Industrial Zone, the Vallvidrera neighborhood, Tibadabo, and les Planes), as well as L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, Sant Adrià del Besòs, part of Esplugues de Llobregat, and Cornellà de Llobregat. On holidays, however, the ZBE only extends to the city of Barcelona.
The ZBE is active from Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m.
All vehicles with environmental badge ZERO, ECO, C, or B from the DGT (Department of Traffic). There are also exceptions. First, there are some vehicles unaffected by the ZBE. These are the following:
Vehicles belonging to people with reduced mobility, but they need to be registered. It’s free and activates automatically.
Emergency and essential services vehicles (medical, funerary), but they need to be registered. It’s free and activates automatically.
Specific vehicles (tow trucks, vehicles for fairs, driving school cars, armored cars, radio and TV vehicles, mobile libraries, cement mixers, street cleaners, and road striping trucks).
Vehicles that transport people with illnesses that prevent them from using public transportation.
Second, there are some vehicles that can enter the ZBE until 2021. These are the following:
Professional vehicles without environmental badges.
Vehicles of people with low income that don’t have environmental badges, but only if it’s necessary for their work.
Vans without environmental badges.
Trucks without environmental badges.
Buses without environmental badges.
The most polluting vehicles, which is to say those vehicles that don’t have the DGT badge, like the following:
Cars (including taxis); petrol cars registered before 2000 and diesel cars registered before 2006.
Vans registered before October 1st, 1994.
These vehicles can ONLY enter the ZBE from Monday through Friday between 8:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. and on weekends. During holidays, they can enter anywhere except Barcelona city.