Madrid low emissions zone reinstated: ERS response

12 July, 2019

The European Respiratory Society (ERS) welcomes the news that the low emissions zone has been reinstated in Madrid, Spain.

This news is especially important to ERS as Madrid will host the ERS International Congress later this year. ERS strongly advocates for measures to reduce air pollution levels and improve air quality, as access to clean air is a fundamental need and right for all citizens in Europe and is key to protecting human health.

Since late 2018, Madrid Central has effectively improved its air quality and put the health of citizens first by prioritising walking, cycling and the use of public transport, in order to reduce emissions and clean up the city’s air.

Madrid Central, which is considered one of the most successful low emission zones in Europe, is setting an example for many cities across Europe. The benefits of the low emission zone are clear: data shows that levels of nitrogen dioxide have been reduced by 48% in the city centre due to traffic restrictions, and all pollution monitoring stations in Madrid have demonstrated lower levels compared to the same period last year.

In addition, the low emissions zone has led to a significant improvement in air quality in the surrounding areas of the city centre too. Although the low emissions zone is an important part of the solution, ERS believes that further measures and complementary strategies ought to be implemented to improve air quality in cities.

This effective policy should be further developed to ensure that citizens have the opportunity to breathe clean air, and we are delighted with the decision to reinstate the low emissions zone.

Find out more about air quality and health