Lonely Planet Writer

Madrid cracks down on pollution with tough traffic regulations

Rush hour traffic in Madrid.
Rush hour traffic in Madrid. Image by Francisco Anzola / CC BY 2.0

Authorities in Madrid have taken a stand against high levels of air pollution by introducing tough new environmental restrictions on traffic. The restrictions will kick in automatically if air pollution hits a benchmark high level, at which point warnings will be issued urging drivers to leave the car at home and speed restrictions will be put in place on major roads into central Madrid.

If air pollution remains at extreme levels for a second day, only neighbourhood residents will be allowed to use parking meters in central Madrid. If the high levels continue for a third consecutive day, city-centre access could be denied for up to 50% of vehicles.

The new rules have been established off the back of criticism from environmentalists and pressure from the EU, which has repeatedly threatened the city with sanctions for breaching air safety standards. Read more: telegraph.co.uk