Zero-emissions taxis face fewer restrictions in Madrid than most private vehicles.
Zero-emissions taxis face fewer restrictions in Madrid than most private vehicles.

Central Madrid Off-Limits to Foreign Cars

The Madrid Central ZEZ zone is one of three distinct environmental zones that can be activated under different scenarios – and foreign motorists cannot yet buy a badge for any of them.

Spanish authorities in effect have banned vehicles with foreign license plates from central Madrid under tough new clean-air regulations.

Since the beginning of November, a windshield badge, Distintivo Ambiental (Environmental Hallmark), has been required for entry to the Madrid Central ZEZ zone at all times. It is one of three distinct environmental zones that can be activated under different scenarios – and foreign motorists cannot yet buy a badge for any of them.

Tourist coaches are exempt.

Within the larger M30 zone, vehicles without an environmental badge are excluded on the second day of high air-pollution levels in the Spanish capital. In addition, more-polluting vehicles are banned from parking and only taxis with zero emissions or Euro 6 compliance ratings are permitted to operate in the zone.

Should high air pollution last three days or more, the driving ban can be extended to the larger Madrid City environmental zone.

City authorities are recommending foreign drivers park their vehicles outside the permanent environmental zone in the city center until the government introduces a corresponding badging system.

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