July 21, 2024 | 11:26


Bilbao moves towards a cleaner future with the low emissions zone

Bilbao moves towards a cleaner future with the Low Emissions Zone

Jeickson Sulbaran

December 31, 2023 | 6:00 pm

Bilbao had given a significant step towards a more sustainable future and respectful with the environment. The plenary session of the City Council has approved the creation of the first low emissions zone in Bilbao, a bold measure that seeks to reduce pollution in the urban center. This initiative, which will limit the circulation of the most polluting vehicles in the central area, represents a momentous change in the urban mobility policy of the capital of Biscay. However, this restriction will not come into effect until April, after a period of allegations and final approval.

The decision has had the support of the parties of the Municipal government (PNV and PSE), the abstention of EH Bildu and Elkarrekin Bizkaia, and the opposition of the PP. The ordinance has been enriched with the incorporation of 18 of the 28 amendments presented by the opposition. These modifications include aspects such as the possibility of extending the traffic limitation to sensitive areas, the publication of a detailed list of restricted streets, and carrying out an analysis of the impact of this measure in neighboring areas.

The incorporated amendments and the extended moratorium

Among the amendments approved for low emission zone In Bilbao, several stand out that directly address the concerns of citizens and specific sectors. For example, the possibility of limiting traffic in sensitive areas such as medical centers or schools has been left open, and a list of affected streets will be published to avoid confusion. In addition, an analysis of the impact of the closure on adjacent areas will be carried out and hotels and repair shops will be required to have parking for non-restricted vehicles. The frequency of the monitoring report has also been modified, which will now be carried out every two years instead of four.

The ordinance of low emission zone in Bilbao it will apply in a staggered manner to different vehicles until 2030, with an extended moratorium for certain types of vehicles. Taxis and driving school vehicles with B classification will be able to circulate until the end of 2029, while type A vehicles that meet certain conditions will also have an extension until the same date.

Reactions and criticisms against the new ordinance zone of casualties emissions in Bilbao

The Councilor for Mobility and Sustainability, Nora Abete, has defended this low emission zone in Bilbao as a key element in the fight against climate change and improving air quality. However, he has recognized the need for "more pedagogy" to explain and defend these measures to citizens.

On the other hand, Karlos Renedo from EH Bildu and Ana Viñals from Elkarrekin Bilbao They have expressed their discontent with the process of processing the ordinance. Renedo regrets that an opportunity has been lost to transform the mobility model in Bilbao, while Viñals criticizes that the measure is implemented more out of legal obligation than out of political conviction. Esther Martínez of the PP, for her part, has questioned the diagnosis and the methodology used to justify the time restriction of the low emission zone in Bilbao.

The approval of the low emission zone in Bilbao marks progress towards a more sustainable and less polluting city model. Although the measure has generated intense debate and has been the subject of criticism, its implementation could be an example for other cities in the search for solutions to the challenge of climate change and urban pollution.

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