Madrid Central cut emissions by 20 percent in first year

Banners for Madrid Central program, restricting vehicle circulation in Spain's capital. Photo: Ayuntamiento Madrid/Público
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The Madrid Central anti-pollution plan put in place under the progressive administration of former Mayor Manuela Carmena significantly reduced air-contamination in Spain’s capital during its first year of operation, making Madrid one of the “most efficient low-emission areas in Europe”, according to Spain’s environmental campaigning group Ecologistas en Acción (Ecologists in Action).

On the eve of the opening in Madrid on Monday of the 2019 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP25), the organization said in a statement that the Madrid Central program had reduced nitrogen dioxide pollution in downtown Madrid by 20 percent, with a knock-on effect that saw nitrogen dioxide dioxide fall in 21 of 24 measuring stations located across the entire greater Madrid metropolitan area.

► News Sources: Público, El País and Europa Press …

According to Ecologistas, the reduction occurred despite efforts by the new administration of Mayor José Luis Martínez-Almeida of the conservative Partido Popular to eliminate Madrid Central’s five-square-kilometer low-emission zone in downtown. Last summer, the Martínez-Almeida administration imposed a moratorium on fines for drivers of vehicles in violation of the Madrid Central regulations.

The moratorium was cancelled after Ecologistas and other groups obtained a court injunction, but the environmentalist group says the benefits of the Madrid Central could well be undone by its planned replacement with a new “Madrid 360” plan announced by the Martínez-Almeida administration in October.

The new plan, say Ecologistas, has generated confusion among citizens and includes measures that will actually increase the use of automobiles in the capital city.

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