Sunday, 31 December 2023, 07:48
Following in the footsteps of Malaga city and the other nine towns in the province which have more than 50,000 inhabitants and are obliged by law, Vélez-Málaga is finalising the implementation of its low emission zone (ZBE) as of Monday 1 January 2024.
For the moment, residents and visitors will notice very few changes, apart from the recent pedestrianisation of the town centre as no signage or video surveillance systems have been installed so far. This is expected to be completed over the next year.
At the same time, the town hall has announced plans to reactivate the tram service between Vélez-Málaga and the coastal town of Torre del Mar, which has not operated since June 2012, having announced in September 2023 that it would not do so. However, this is subject to obtaining the necessary financing from the European Next Generation funds.
It also hopes to be incorporated into the Transport Consortium of the Metropolitan Area of Malaga, a decision which depends on the Andalusian regional government.
In terms of the low emission zone plans, the councillor for the area, Rocío Ruiz outlined on Friday 29 December the main lines of this "ambitious initiative, which reflects the town hall’s commitment to protecting the environment and the surroundings, building a more sustainable future". The Low Emissions Plan addresses a variety of key areas, from transport to waste management, with the aim of improving air quality, and promoting the inclusion of Vélez-Málaga in Malaga’s Metropolitan Transport Consortium, among other areas.
Ruiz said in a statement that among the proposals being studied is a commitment to "promote public transport, pedestrian routes in urban areas and improved mobility". The aim is to reduce polluting emissions, the carbon footprint and noise levels and improve the quality of life for residents throughout the municipality.
"In Vélez-Málaga we already have the Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan, approved in 2012, which already envisioned the goal of reducing traffic and increasing spaces for pedestrians, especially in the centre of the most populated towns," said the councillor. To this end, throughout 2023 work has been done to create an annex to the Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan to update it, "introducing a study of Low Emission Zones to comply with the requirements of the guidelines of the regulations", she pointed out.
Ruiz highlighted that the low emission zone study already includes the recent pedestrianisation of Vélez and Torre del Mar town centres, as the first phase of its implementation. "Throughout 2024 we are going to develop a 'Technical Project for the Implementation of ZBEs', which involves specific signage, remote management and access control measures, among others. This will allow us to take advantage of the funding provided by the Ministry of Ecological Transition, as well as other European and regional incentives," she said.
Finally, Rocío Ruiz explained that the low emissions plan for 2024 will also include raising awareness among "all residents, promoting environmental education, improving and extending cycle lanes and inviting the active participation of associations, groups and all kinds of neighbourhood collectives in achieving the established objectives".
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