what changes and what does not with the new emission reduction plan of the Madrid City Council

The Madrid City Council has just presented ‘Madrid360’ his plan to replace the controversial Madrid Central of the previous government and avoid the fines that could come from the European Union if the city is left without an anti-pollution plan.

So the question in the environment is, What are the news? What are the differences between the two plans? Is it true, as the City Council says, that Madrid360 is the great plan to improve the air in the capital that we were waiting for?

Keys to the new Madrid360

Each of Madrid’s 21 districts deserves to breathe the same clean air. # Madrid360 arrives. pic.twitter.com/dO8HbTlxSX

– José Luis Martínez-Almeida (@AlmeidaPP_) September 30, 2019

The return of the C. Some cars will be able to circulate again in the center of Madrid. The most striking case is the vehicles with the C label (that is, gasoline engines after 2006 and diesel engines after 2014) which, when circulating with two or more occupants, will be able to move freely through the low-emission zone. They will be considered “high occupancy vehicles”.

More motorcycles There is also a change in motorcycles (which the plan considers “a more sustainable means of transport than tourism”) and the City Council is committed to promoting their use by doubling the specific parking spaces and extending the hours in which they can circulate through the city. center (until 12 at night).

Cheaper parking. Another of the most important changes is that parking fees will be lowered and spaces for non-residents will be expanded. Electric cars can park for free, ECO cars with a 50% discount and C cars with 10%.

Renewal of the car park On the other hand, in addition to the fact that merchants will be considered “neighbors” for all purposes (including passes for guests), the plan includes the gradual prohibition of the entry of polluting vehicles and the creation of a line of aid to renew the Madrid car park.

Madrid360 will prohibit the circulation of vehicles without an environmental label within the perimeter of the M-30 in 2022 and throughout the municipality from 2024. Although residents will have a little more room to adapt, the idea is that from 2025 there will be no circulating no car without environmental labels in the capital of the country.

Something else, but little else The plan contemplates the burying of the A-5 as it passes through the municipality, the elimination of some bike lanes and the creation of some BUS-VAO lanes at the accesses to the capital (although this is a state competence). It will also create a replacement plan for coal and diesel boilers.

But, for the rest, the main lines of Madrid Central remain. In general, Madrid360 seems to want to expand the focus of the emission reduction plan at the cost of making them lighter. It will work? That is one of the great questions of the coming years and, today, there is little data available to support the approach.

What impact will it have? What can we expect?

Many details are missing about Madrid360. The plan, which according to the City Council “will absorb three times more emissions than what was intended with Central Madrid”, was presented this morning as a “strategy to reduce emissions from Madrid” that wants to turn the city into “a world capital reference”.

However, the critics have not been long in coming. Above all, those related to the lack of exhaustive studies that endorse the plan. According to the press, Madrid360 is the result of two months of research in which the consulting firm Deloitte has tried to organize the different municipal plans to create a joint strategy.

The problem is that without an in-depth analysis of future scenarios, the plan simply boils down to soften the measurements of Madrid Central and repeat that it will work better. To give us an idea, the access authorization for C cars with two occupants or more raises many doubts not only because there are many (more than 30%) but because it is not even clear how it will be controlled – until now the system it was automatic and had no occupants.

Now, then, the most difficult part remains, convince European authorities that the alternative to Central Madrid makes sense. For this, the numbers will have to add up, but the City Council’s commitment to improving pollution must also be clear. It should not be forgotten that Europe has already focused on Madrid and Barcelona due to their high levels of pollution and only stopped it after the approval of emission reduction plans.

Picture | Carlos Zurita