Thursday, February 10, 2011

Barcelona punts on air pollution

Following Madrid’s lead, Barcelona is concentrating on solving its pollution problem by not solving it. 

Barcelona has decided to beg the EU not to fine it for exceeding pollution limits, saying that it is doing all it can and has already lowered pollution by 20%.

Not helping their case is the fact that they are (this weekend, although that is subject to change, given the mass of pollution currently hovering over Barcelona) removing the 80 km speed limit around Barcelona which scientists say has reduced particulate pollution by 11%.

I guess that means they can only claim a 9% reduction now.

The bottom line is that with 6200 cars per square kilometer in downtown Barcelona (compared to downtown London with 1300), unless there is a serious effort to reduce the number of cars, stupid measures like asking people not drive aren’t going to do much.

There was an article yesterday in La Vanguardia where the mayor of Barcelona was claiming that there was nothing that the city could do, since the pollution is mostly caused by people from outside the city entering Barcelona. You’d think Barcelona was the only city in the world with suburbs. I guess he’s never heard of the congestion charge that has been quite successful in reducing traffic in London.

1 comment:

Graeme said...

The problem is that BCN has to channel any request for a moratorium through the national government, which is currently giving Madrid a hard time on the same issue. To be fair Barcelona has done more than Madrid, not that this is so difficult - you have a bicycle scheme where Madrid's has been indefinitely shelved and there are more genuinely pedestrian areas. I hope for once the EU actually refuses to take excuses, it's not like cities haven't had time to get used to the idea.