The Madrid City Council has taken the first step to approve the new Air Quality Ordinance after 30 years with regulations in force that have become obsolete. The project, which has passed its first process in the Governing Board this Thursday, aims to reduce polluting emissions from sources other than road traffic and is expected to be approved in the municipal plenary session at the end of January, according to the Councilor for the Environment and Mobility, Borja Carabante. The mayor of Madrid, José Luis Martínez-Almeida, already announced the most important new regulations in March in his race to convince Brussels that its Madrid 360 strategy was a good one. Then, the City Council wanted to cut Central Madrid to allow the entry of more cars to the low emission zone.
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The new ordinance obliges new buildings to have a minimum area dedicated to solar panels and electric recharging points, prohibits the residual coal boilers that remain in the city as of 2022, allows the Municipal Police and the Mobility Agents immobilize vehicles that are expelling a lot of smoke through the exhaust pipe and force them to pass an ITV, and requires the macro events of more than 5,000 people to compensate for the environmental damage they cause. The penalties for not complying with these measures can reach 3,000 euros in the most serious cases.
In the capital there are 200 coal boilers, according to the data provided by Carabante, and there are already aid underway worth 12.5 million euros to replace them over the next year. The measure was already included in Manuela Carmena’s Air Quality Plan A, although it did not have a specific timeframe and is included in Madrid 360. Neighborhood communities will also face, in the case of new buildings, the obligation to install solar panels to promote the use of renewable energy and energy efficiency. The project contemplates that they must occupy at least 50% of the use of the plot surface. The City Council will not provide specific aid for this measure, although it contemplates tax exemptions in the payment of taxes to individuals, communities or companies that use renewable energy, as confirmed by sources in the Environment area. The new buildings will also have to be equipped with electric charging points.
The ordinance only contains a measure related to road traffic – these issues are regulated in the Sustainable Mobility regulations – to prevent cars from releasing excessive fumes from the exhaust pipe. The mobility agents and Municipal Police, once the ordinance enters into force, will be able to stop drivers whose vehicles are perceived in this situation and even immobilize them if they impede visibility or register very high levels of expulsion.
This possibility was already contemplated in the ordinance in force, that of 1985, but the City Council justifies that it is now given “legal coverage”. All drivers will have to pass the ITV within a period of between 6 months and a year. If it is not fulfilled, they will be sanctioned. The draft ordinance establishes a scale of fines that range between 750, in the mildest cases, and 3,000 euros. “It is not a regime with a sanctioning but a corrective vocation. There will be an arbitration regime,” Carabante has advanced.
The City Council also intends that the promoters of macro-events become aware “about the impact of these activities on the environment.” To do this, it will require from the calls of more than 5,000 people a sustainability plan that marks its impact and proposes measures to reduce it, such as recycling plans or sustainable mobility alternatives. Everyone will have to quantify the carbon footprint they cause and establish corrective measures for the damage caused, such as planting trees.
The project, after saving the first procedure, will be during the next month in a public information period, open to allegations. Afterwards, it will go through the Governing Board again and it will be voted in plenary, where it must be approved by a majority. The current ordinance was approved in 1985 and has only been amended twice, in 1990 and 2002.