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Barcelona council suggest ending air route to Madrid to fight climate change

Barcelona council suggest ending air route to Madrid to fight climate change
/ AFP
  • The idea comes as initial response to a low-emissions traffic zone in the city has been limited

Hot on the heels of supporting a new low carbon emission zone for traffic in Barcelona and neighbouring municipalities, the city council in the Catalan capital is proposing more radical action on climate change.

The left-leaning authority has said that the turn-up-and-go air shuttle from Barcelona's El Prat airport to Madrid should be eliminated as there is a high-speed rail connection instead. It has also called on other domestic air links in Spain to be halted where there is already a good train service.

The announcement by Barcelona's councillor for Climate Emergency comes at the same time as disappointing results from the first few days of the city's new low-emissions zone.

Since 2 January, only vehicles displaying an official low-emissions badge, applied for online if not already shown, can enter a 95-square-kilometre area in and around the city.

However the first normal workday with the scheme, on Wednesday, saw a reduction of only 2.4 per cent in traffic based on the equivalent day a year earlier, admitted the local authorities. Neither was there much increase in use of public transport. There will be a few months' grace period before non-compliant vehicles will be fined.

Madrid drivers upset

In Madrid there has been a toughening on parking in public spaces for cars that don't show a low emission sticker with the new year. However the controversial Madrid inner-city restriction area has seen some rules relaxed.

On Thursday, Madrid drivers going to work were upset to discover the mayor had activated a short-term high-pollution-level speed restriction on some key roads without sufficient warning.