Does your vehicle need an Eco Sticker? Does your vehicle qualify for an Eco Sticker? What happens if I do not have an Eco Sticker? Do I need an Eco Sticker after the 1st January 2023?
By Nick Nutter | Updated 22 Mar 2023 | Andalucia | Living In Andalucia | Login to add to YOUR Favourites or Read LaterThis article has been visited 8,596 times
On the 1st January 2023, the new mandatory Low Emission Zones, Zonas de Bajas Emissiones or ZBE Law, is supposed to be implemented in all towns and cities in Spain with a population of more than 50,000 people.
Some town halls have not yet started the system and it is understood that the thirty cities and towns in Andalucia with a population over 50,000 will have to comply by the end of 2023. In other words, the implementation has been deferred and may well be deferred further. There are some suggestions that the target date for implementation will be 2025. Be aware though that some cities outside Andalucia such as Barcelona and Madrid have already implemented their Low Emission Zones, others will be implementing the policy from the 1st January and others will come onboard during the year.
In Andalucia, Seville is the only city to date to have a Low Emission Zone. However it is not permanent and depends on traffic use.
Since each city and town council set their own agenda and that, in most cases, the agenda is not yet published, this article uses some information from Barcelona, who have been piloting the scheme since 2020 and Madrid where the scheme started in 2019, as examples of what you might expect as the Low Emission Zones roll out through the cities and towns.
When the Low Emission Zones are implemented, only certain vehicles, those displaying the so-called Eco Sticker, will be allowed to enter those towns and cities, with fines issued to those who fail to comply. Whether this restriction will apply at all times, just on certain days or at certain times will be up to the town council. For instance, access to the Barcelona Low Emission Zone is restricted from Monday to Friday between 7 am and 8 pm. During this time, vehicles entering the area must have an environmental label, an Eco Sticker, issued by the Directorate General for Traffic (DGT).
The fine for noncompliance has been set at 200 Euros.
According to municipal sources in Madrid, as of May 2021, 1,393,000 traffic tickets had been issued, worth the equivalent of €125 million. A dispute based on technical details is ongoing concerning the legality of fines after that date.
ZBE Signs to look out for
The sign to look out for consists of a circle, bordered in red to indicate it is mandatory. The pictogram is a car emitting exhaust fumes. Below the circular sign is a rectangular sign that displays the exceptions, for instance, vehicles displaying an Eco Sticker and when the restrictions apply.
Town halls throughout Spain are being encouraged to use the system of enforcement presently used in Madrid. In Madrid, the City Council is using the current system of infra-red cameras to control access to the Low Emission Zones. These cameras have an automatic number plate reader and are already used to spot vehicles jumping red traffic lights.
A Low Emission zone (ZBE) in Spain is a geographically defined area that aims to dissuade or restrict the access of certain polluting vehicles (cars, trucks, motorcycles).
In order to reduce air pollution, in some cases they only allow access to zero-emission vehicles (as is the case with pure electric vehicles) or low-emission vehicles (as is the case with normal or plug-in hybrids).
Low emission zones are areas where certain vehicles are restricted by their emissions, that is, they are measures aimed at improving air quality. They are restricted to large areas within the city, or even the entire city, and allow the entry of vehicles that meet the best emission standards.
The DGT Environmental Badge, or Eco Sticker, is a label that quickly identifies the most environmentally friendly vehicles. It should be displayed in the lower right corner of the windshield and, although having the sticker displayed is voluntary, it is recommended that you do so. Once your vehicle is registered on the national database then, theoretically, when your vehicle is checked by a camera or police officer, it will show as having the relevant Eco Sticker.
There are four different Eco Stickers.
Blue zero emissions stickers are issued to:
Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV).
Electric vehicles with extended range (REEV).
Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) with a minimum range of 40 km.
Fuel cell vehicles.
Green and blue stickers are issued to:
Plug-in hybrid vehicles with a range of less than 40 km.
Non-plug-in hybrid vehicles (HEV).
Vehicles powered by natural gas.
Vehicles powered by natural gas (CNG and LNG) or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).
Distinctive B are yellow stickers issued to:
Passenger cars and light petrol vans registered from January 2000.
Diesel passenger cars and light vans registered from January 2006.
Vehicles with more than 8 seats and heavy, gasoline or diesel, registered from 2005
Gasoline vehicles must comply with the Euro 3 standard, and diesel vehicles with Euro 4 and 5.
Distinctive C, green stickers are issued to:
Passenger cars and light gasoline vans, registered from January 2006.
Passenger cars and light diesel vans registered from 2014.
Vehicles with more than 8 seats and heavy, gasoline or diesel, registered from 2014.
Gasoline vehicles must comply with the Euro 4.5 and 6 standard, and diesel vehicles with Euro 6.
There are also two types of Eco Stickers for the following vehicles:
Two and three-wheeled mopeds with a cylinder capacity of less than 50 cm³ if internal combustion and a maximum speed of no more than 45 km/h.
Light quadricycles with an empty mass of less than 350 kg (not including the mass of the batteries in the case of electric vehicles), a maximum speed of not more than 45 km/h, a displacement of less than or equal to 50 cm³ for internal combustion engines or a power equal to or less than 4 kW for other types of motors.
Two-wheeled motorcycles with or without a sidecar with a displacement greater than 50 cm³, if it is internal combustion, and a maximum speed greater than 45 km/h.
If your vehicle qualifies for one, obtaining the Eco Sticker in Spain is simple. You can visit your main post office, the Correos, taking with you your vehicle logbook and your ID. You will be issued an Eco Sticker immediately on payment of a charge – currently (2023) 5 Euros.
Exemptions to having an Eco Sticker will vary from city to city and town to town, however, in Barcelona where the scheme was piloted, the city council exempts people with reduced mobility. Disabled people only can register one disabled card per number plate. Service vehicles (ambulances, police, firefighters, hearses, military etc) are exempt. As are people that can't use public transport due to a health condition.
Each city and town will have set times and days when only vehicles with Eco Stickers may enter the Low Emission Zone. Outside those times you will be able to drive through the zone.
It is expected that each city and town will have a system set up by which you can apply for occasional daily travel through the Low Emission Zone. For instance, Barcelona allows ten such journeys per year for vehicles that do not have an Eco Sticker.
If your vehicle does not qualify for an Eco Sticker then you should plan your journeys, avoiding Low Emission Zones as far as possible.
If you need to enter a Low Emission Zone, and your vehicle does not qualify for an Eco Sticker and is registered in Spain then you should apply for a One Day Pass if the town council have set up such a system. In Barcelona, such a pass costs 5 or 6 Euros depending on the type of vehicle.
If you need to enter a Low Emission Zone, and your vehicle is foreign registered, then you should apply for an Occasional Daily Pass if the town council have set up such a system. In Barcelona, such a pass can take up to three weeks to be processed so, if your vehicle is foreign registered, apply well in advance. In Barcelona, such a pass costs 7 Euros.
The whole situation is a minefield at the moment.
First of all check to see if your vehicle qualifies for an Eco Sticker.
Visit your Correos with your ID and vehicle log book.
That depends on which country you intend to visit. If you are going to travel with your vehicle to Germany, Austria, Denmark, France or another country with an environmental classification system, you must find out, before going, about whether it is necessary to obtain a badge in the country to which you are traveling, which areas are restricted, how to obtain a badge and the criteria to be able to drive your vehicle in restricted areas.
If your vehicle is registered in Germany, Austria, Denmark or France. You can check the equivalence between the classifications of the country in which the vehicle is registered, and Spain. In this way you will be able to see the equivalent Spanish Eco sticker for your vehicle, know what traffic restrictions may affect you, and be able to drive on Spanish roads with the Eco sticker issued in your country. You should then be able to register your vehicle for a small fee on the Spanish system.
No, unless your vehicle comes from a country with environmental certification, i.e. Germany, Austria, Denmark or France. In which case see the section above.
The UK is not part of the Eco Sticker scheme. UK registered vehicles cannot obtain an Eco Sticker.
The following cities and towns with populations over 50,000 should be implementing Low Emission zones (ZBE) in Almería Province:
Roquetas de Mar
The following cities and towns with populations over 50,000 should be implementing Low Emission zones (ZBE) in Cádiz Province:
Chiclana de la Frontera
El Puerto de Santa Maria
Jerez de la Frontera
La Línea de la Concepción
Sanlúcar de Barrameda
The following cities and towns with populations over 50,000 should be implementing Low Emission zones (ZBE) in Córdoba Province:
The following cities and towns with populations over 50,000 should be implementing Low Emission zones (ZBE) in Granada Province:
The following cities and towns with populations over 50,000 should be implementing Low Emission zones (ZBE) in Huelva Province:
The following cities and towns with populations over 50,000 should be implementing Low Emission zones (ZBE) in Jaén Province:
The following cities and towns with populations over 50,000 should be implementing Low Emission zones (ZBE) in Málaga Province:
The following cities and towns with populations over 50,000 should be implementing Low Emission zones (ZBE) in Seville Province:
Alcalá de Guadaíra
Nobody actually knows how the Eco Sticker scheme will work in individual cities and towns. The information in this article is correct, as far as I can ascertain, at the moment (December 2022). However, situations change so it is up to individuals to check for themselves. I would really appreciate it if readers can update me with any further information from towns and cities in Andalucia as and when the Low Emission Zones are implemented so that I can update this article with the rules that apply in our towns and cities.