Environmental regions in Spain and Dutch or Belgian motorists

Environmental regions in Spain and Dutch or Belgian motorists

Since January 1, 2023, new environmental rules with mandatory low emission zones have been implemented in 148 cities in Spain with more than 50,000 inhabitants. These environmental stickers are mandatory for all vehicles, both those with Spanish and foreign number plates. But which cities does this apply to and how do you get an eco-label if you do or don’t have a Spanish license plate?

Although it has been mandatory for nearly 150 Spanish cities since 2023 to have low emission zones, in practice this means that few cities have already introduced “zonas de bajas emisiones,” or ZBE. Madrid and Barcelona, the two largest cities in Spain, are the leaders and have had so-called ZBE zones for several years. Besides these two cities too Valencia, Seville, Cordoba, Pontevedra, Badalona, ​​Rivas-FaciaMadrid, San Cugat del Valles, Sant Joan Despe and Valladolid Permanent or temporary ZBE zones when air quality is poor.

This means that the vast majority of 148 Spanish cities do not yet have one low emission zones It was inserted, so that Dutch and Belgian vacationers who come to Spain with their own transport do not have to worry. Of course, this is a different story for the cities we reported on earlier (Please note: this is a temporary list that may always change). So if you go to Barcelona or Madrid with your own transport, you will have to meet the requirements. If you don’t meet the requirements in the cities listed above, you risk a €200 fine (or €100 if you pay quickly).

low emission zones

Entry into low emission zones has been mandatory since January 1, 2023. Access to environmental zones or low emission zones (zonas de bajas emisiones) is only possible for vehicles that have a valid environmental sticker (etiquetas medioambientales or distintivo ambiental). New traffic signs indicate vehicles that may enter these environmental or low emission zones.

Important: the Spanish environmental sticker cannot be purchased for vehicles registered abroad. So if you go on holiday to Spain or drive around that country with a car with a foreign license plate, you can use the Danish, German, Austrian or French eco-label valid in Spain. If you’re driving through France to Spain, the French vignette is it Crit’Air The best option because it is valid in France and Spain (except Barcelona). Environmental labels apply to most cities and not to the entire country (where this is not necessary). on the Dutch website ANWB It also contains more information.


Different rules apply to Barcelona. Barcelona has already introduced low emission zones before. In Barcelona, ​​the previously mentioned foreign environmental labels (eg French) do not apply. For Barcelona, ​​you need to apply for a long-term or day pass. For Madrid’s ecozones, you can drive with a French vignette.

As for Barcelona, ​​it is easy for most foreign visitors who only stay one day in the Catalan city to purchase a “one day pass” (Autorización diaria). You can do that through this site Where you have to provide the license plate number and fill out an online form. The problem with doing it online is that you have to sign digitally and this applies to residents of Spain. You can also mail in a form and apply for a permit today, but you must do so in time. The entire procedure is standing here Its description is in English and it is rather cumbersome and difficult.

Spanish environmental posters

For vehicles registered in Spain, there are four Spanish environmental stickers:

  • Blue – 0: No emissions like 100% electric cars and plug-in hybrid cars (40 km or more).
  • Green-Blue-Eco: plug-in hybrid (less than 40 km) and gas-powered cars that meet Green Label (C) criteria.
  • Green – C: Gasoline cars registered 2006 or later; diesel vehicles registered in 2014 or later; Vehicles with more than 8 seats and heavy vehicles, petrol and diesel, registered in 2014 or later. Gasoline vehicles must comply with Euro 4, 5 or 6 and diesel vehicles with Euro 6.
  • Yellow – B: gasoline cars registered in 2000-2005; diesel cars registered in 2006-2013; Vehicles over 8 seats and heavy vehicles petrol and diesel registered in 2005-2013. Petrol vehicles must comply with Euro 3 and diesel vehicles with Euro 4 or 5.
  • No label for other vehicles.

Where can I buy the Spanish environmental label?

Therefore, the Spanish environmental sticker is only for sale to vehicles with a Spanish license plate. It can be bought for 5 euros at post offices (click here for the site); Network of Workshops of the Spanish Confederation of Workshops (CETRAA) and other networks of accredited workshops; Store; Institute for Automotive Studies (IDEAUTO). on this Website You can enter the Spanish license plate to find out which environmental label you need.

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