- Title: Madrid cuts traffic volume in half as pollution rises
- Date: 29th December 2016
- Summary: MADRID, SPAIN (DECEMBER 28, 2016) (REUTERS) TRAFFIC ON MADRID'S HIGHWAY AND MADRID SKYLINE WITH SMOG VARIOUS OF MADRID SKYLINE AND SMOG MADRID, SPAIN (DECEMBER 29, 2016) (REUTERS) TRAFFIC QUEUING TO ENTER CENTRAL MADRID VARIOUS OF TRAFFIC SIGN READING (Spanish) "M-30 ACCESS, LIMITED SPEED" / SIGN SWITCHING AND READING (Spanish) "EVEN NUMBER PLATES BANNED IN CENTRE" TRAFFIC SPANISH POLICE CHECKING CAR NUMBER PLATES AS THEY ENTER THE CENTRE OF THE CITY POLICE PULLING OVER CAR WITH EVEN NUMBER PLATE TRYING TO GET INTO THE CITY CENTRE POLICE AND TRAFFIC GOING INTO CITY CENTRE (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) MADRID RESIDENT, JOSE LUIS, SAYING: "Today we who have even number plates can't leave the city. I don't know why ... I think that it restricts my freedom too. But, if pollution requires it, they must take more suitable measures." (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) MADRID RESIDENT, CURRO QUEVEDO (37), SAYING: "I think it's great because I walk everywhere and there are no cars. Besides, it's a beautiful day and everything seems marvelous, but I understand it might be uncomfortable for businesses and for people that live outside Madrid." (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) MADRID, RESIDENT MARGARITA (58), SAYING: "Restrictions always, because we can't maintain these traffic levels. Improve public transport and restrict private traffic, also vehicle technical controls or the promotion of more electric cars." PARKING METRE IN STREET PARKING METRE READING (Spanish) "HIGH POLLUTION. PARKING IS FORBIDDEN" VARIOUS OF TRAFFIC IN CENTRAL MADRID CARS PASSING BY MADRID'S COLON SQUARE MADRID, SPAIN (DECEMBER 28, 2016) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF MADRID SKYLINE WITH SMOG HOVERING OVER THE CITY
- Embargoed: 13th January 2017 11:13
- Keywords: Pollution Madrid Traffic restrictions Spain
- Location: MADRID, SPAIN
- City: MADRID, SPAIN
- Country: Spain
- Topics: Pollution,Environment
- Reuters ID: LVA0015EXRTQF
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Madrid on Thursday (December 29) banned all privately-owned cars with even-numbered registration plates from the Spanish capital's roads to curb rising air pollution.
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.
The restriction could alternate between odd and even number plates for as long as high levels of contamination persist, the city government said but on Thursday officials said all vehicles could be on the road on Friday (December 30) but parking restrictions in Madrid's centre will remain.
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.
The restrictions on Thursday will be in place between 0630 and 2100 and drivers caught flouting them will face fines of up to 90 euros.
The new measures generated mixed reactions amongst the Spanish capital's residents.
"Today we who have even number plates can't leave the city. I don't know why ... I think that it restricts my freedom too. But, if pollution requires it, they must take more suitable measures," said Madrid's resident Jose Luis arguing the current strategy was not the best policy.
"Restrictions always, because we can't maintain these traffic levels. Improve public transport and restrict private traffic, also vehicle technical controls or the promotion of more electric cars," Margarita, another Madrid resident in favour of the restrictions said.
The region of Madrid, which includes the capital and surrounding neighborhoods, has almost 4 million cars, or one for every two people, plus about a million trucks, vans and motorcycles.
On Wednesday (December 28), the city placed a temporary ban on parking in the center 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. These measure will remain on Friday.
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