Spain planning low-emission zones for all towns of over 50,000 inhabitants

Source: Xinhua| 2019-12-05 01:22:50|Editor: yan
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MADRID, Dec. 4 (Xinhua) -- The Spanish government, led by acting Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, will introduce a climate change bill to oblige all towns with over 50,000 inhabitants to introduce low-emission zones, once it returns to power, a minister said Wednesday.

Speaking at the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP25 in Madrid, Spain's acting Minister for Ecological Transition Teresa Ribera said that while air pollution levels in the majority of Spanish cities "could not be compared" with many places, it was "not enough to simply settle for being better than the most polluted cities in the world."

Her comments followed an appeal from a delegation of leaders from main environmental pressure groups in Spain, including Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace and Ecologists in Action, which on Tuesday said a climate change law had to be the first priority once Spain has a fully working government.

Sanchez still needs to find the support in the Spanish Congress of Deputies (lower chamber) for that to happen after 10 months of political stalemate, which saw general elections held in April and November.

Spain's cities of Madrid and Barcelona currently have low-emission zones. In the capital, the "Madrid Central" zone was introduced at the end of 2018. But current Madrid Mayor Jose Luis Martinez-Almeida tried to suspend the plan when he took office in June of 2019. But his attempt was blocked by the courts.

In contrast, Barcelona will bring new legislation into effect in January 2020 to toughen up restrictions on which vehicles can be used within the city's ring roads.