- Title: Madrid to cut traffic volumes in half as pollution rises
- Date: 28th December 2016
- Summary: MADRID, SPAIN (DECEMBER 28, 2016) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF TRAFFIC
- Embargoed: 12th January 2017 14:09
- Keywords: pollution Madrid traffic restrictions cars
- Location: MADRID, SPAIN
- City: MADRID, SPAIN
- Country: Spain
- Topics: Pollution,Environment
- Reuters ID: LVA0035ESS47B
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Madrid said on Wednesday (December 28) all privately-owned cars with even-numbered registration plates will be banned from the Spanish capital's roads on Thursday (December 29) to curb rising air pollution.
"We are adding an additional measure which needs to be highlighted which is a restriction according to registration plates," Deputy Mayor of Madrid Marta Higueras said at a news conference. "This means that on even days only cars with even registrations and those ending in zero can be driven and, on odd days, only cars with odd registration plates can be driven."
The move follows a dry, sunny stretch of weather which sent levels of nitrogen oxide, a poisonous gas which can cause respiratory problems such as asthma, soaring above European-Union-set limits.
Madrid City Hall's head of environment said the weather conditions, marked by lack of ventilation and rain, were preventing emissions from being blown away.
"The fundamental cause is emissions from the transport sector, but they accumulate and there is a lack of ventilation due to the meteorological conditions," Paz Valiente said.
The restriction could alternate between odd and even number plates for as long as high levels of contamination persist, the city government said. Applicable restrictions for Friday (December 30) will be announced by midday on Thursday.
Madrid has been later than other European cities in applying anti-pollution measures. London introduced a congestion charge more than 10 years ago while Paris has taken steps to pedestrianise some of its central roads.
On Wednesday, the city placed a temporary ban on parking in the centre by non-resident car owners and restricted speed limits on the Madrid's main circular road to 70 kmh (43 mph) from 90 kmh to reduce exhaust emissions.
The region of Madrid, which includes the capital and surrounding neighbourhoods, has almost 4 million cars, or one for every two people, plus about a million trucks, vans and motorcycles.
The restrictions will be in place between 0630 and 2100 and drivers caught flouting them will face fines of up to 90 euros.
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