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One of the information panels placed by Torremolinos Town Hall, in this case, outside the ZBE, at the exit to Benalmádena. J. R. C.
Ban on polluting vehicles from 'Low Emission Zone' in Torremolinos set to come into force: this is how it will work
Environment

Ban on polluting vehicles from 'Low Emission Zone' in Torremolinos set to come into force: this is how it will work

Although the regulation should have come into force on 1 January, in accordance with Spain's Climate Change Law for municipalities with more than 50,000 inhabitants, the town hall requested a six-month moratorium

José Rodríguez Cámara

Torremolinos

Monday, 29 April 2024, 11:43

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The plenary council session in Torremolinos has initially approved the municipal ordinance regulating the creation and management of low emission zones (ZBE) in the town. Although this regulation, which involves restrictions on vehicle traffic, came into force on 1 January, in accordance with Spain's new law on climate change, the local administration of the Costa del Sol town requested a six-month moratorium, with the aim of informing the population and setting up the necessary regulatory framework, without imposing fines.

In the final stretch of this grace period, what is clear is that the focus of the limitations will be, on the one hand, on vehicles that do not have an environmental badge and, on the other, on those with the eco-sticker (B) on the windscreen. The former, as a general rule, will not be allowed to enter the ZBE; the latter will be allowed if they are a resident of the area, for loading and unloading, or to enter a car park.

The councillor for traffic, Sandra Jaime, claimed during the plenary debate that the regulation includes "a fairly extensive system of exceptions to the restrictions", which is key, for example, in allowing those registered in this area to circulate normally. The same applies to emergency, maintenance and cleaning vehicles and taxis. With regard to car parks, the area of the ZBE is accessible and also, for example, for hotel establishments. If it is not for any of these reasons, driving through the zone will be an offence between 8am and 9pm.

The zone is open to cars with 0 (electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles), ECO and C labels, whether or not they are registered in Torremolinos, municipal sources said. The control of traffic flow is monitored by number plate reading cameras, while vertical and horizontal signage will mark the limit of the restricted area. In order to organise all these changes, the council has set up an electronic management system, with a mobile application, information on the website, and in-person and telephone assistance, which will facilitate and speed up the request for access authorisations. In this preliminary phase, information has also been key and has been aimed, to a large extent, at facilitating the issuing of the corresponding environmental labels, which are essential in any case, unless there is express authorisation for justified reasons.

Streets affected

Therefore, non-compliance with the measures already announced, which will have an ordinance to back them up, will entail economic sanctions, once the trial period is over. Fines may be imposed for failure to comply with the ZBE in a section of Calle Hoyo (between Calles Eduardo Aguilera and Maestra Miret), Calle Río Aranda, Calle Eduardo Aguilera, Calle Maestra Miret, Avenida de Los Manantiales (between Plaza Picasso and Avenida Isabel Manoja), Calle Río Salazar, Calle Río Arba, Calle Río Subordán, Calle Madre del Buen Consejo, and a section of Calle María Barrabino and Calle Río Mesa. The heart of this zone with traffic restrictions is the Plaza Costa del Sol.

When the mayor, Margarita del Cid, announced the future ZBE at the end of 2023, she spoke of complementary measures, such as parking in "saturated neighbourhoods", like El Calvario or La Carihuela, and a new ordinance that regulates and concentrates loading and unloading in the early hours of the morning. The aim is none other than to reduce polluting emissions and achieve a "friendlier" town.

Information panels and consultation period

The council is holding a consultation period on the low emission zone every Wednesday until 29 May. This possibility has been offered since it came into force on 1 January. In addition, information panels have been installed throughout the municipality, and not only in the low emission zone, which will warn drivers about new developments in traffic. This intervention is part of the implementation of this traffic restricted area, co-financed with Next Generation-EU funds within the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan. With the initial approval of the regulatory ordinance, which was supported by the PP and IU-Podemos, with Vox voting against and PSOE abstaining, the town hall is moving towards effective compliance with the Climate Change Law, which provides for ZBEs for municipalities with more than 50,000 inhabitants.

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