Home F.A.Q. Ten Questions about Eco Stickers and Low Emission Zones

Ten Questions about Eco Stickers and Low Emission Zones

by Mark Nolan
6 minutes read

There is a lot of talk about Eco Stickers and Low Emission Zones at the moment, due to the implementation of a new Environmental Protection Law, and as such, a lot of questions have been raised, so we will answer, in brief, the most popular ones.

An Eco Sticker, or Environmental Distinction Badge (Distintivo Ambiental, or Distintivo Ambiental DGT in Spanish), is used to indicate the category of your vehicle based on the energy efficiency, environmental impact, and the pollution it emits.

  • Are Eco Stickers mandatory in Spain?

The answer to this question is both no, and yes! No, the Eco Sticker is not mandatory, it is a purely voluntary initiative. However, if you want to drive your vehicle in a Low Emissions Zone, then it must be displayed, so it that case it is mandatory.

  • Where do I get an Eco Sticker from?

There are a number of authorised outlets in Spain, but by far the simplest and most convenient is at the network of post offices (Correos). All you need to do is present your vehicle’s logbook and your ID and your sticker will be issued over the counter. Some of the smallest post offices may not offer the service though, but you can also get your Eco Sticker online at the correos.es website, where you upload a picture of your logbook and ID, pay a small fee, and it will be sent to your home address.

  • Which Eco Sticker do I ask for?

You don’t need to worry about this. Although you can check the distinction and category of Eco Stickers the issuing body will know exactly which sticker to give you based on the information in your vehicle’s logbook.

  • Where do I place the Eco Sticker in my vehicle?

The Eco Sticker is designed to be affixed to glass and should be placed on the windscreen of the vehicle. Specifically, if we sit in the vehicle looking out, the sticker must be placed on the lower right-hand corner of the windscreen.

Where to place the Eco Sticker

  • What about Eco Stickers on motorbikes?

Of course, many motorbikes do not have windscreens, and those that do have limited space. On a motorbike the sticker must simply be placed in a location which is visible. The same applies for the ITV sticker by the way.

Eco Sticker on a Motorbike

  • What are Low Emission Zones?

Low Emission Zones (LEZ), or Zonas de Bajas Emisiones (ZBE) in Spanish, are areas where only the least polluting vehicles are allowed to drive. Those vehicles entering these zones incorrectly face a 200 euro fine.

  • Do all towns and cities have Low Emission Zones?

No. ZBEs have been active in Spain for some time, with cities like Madrid and Barcelona, for example, being at the forefront of environmental restrictions. However, the implementation of a new Environmental Protection Law in 2023 means that all towns and cities in Spain with more than 50,000 inhabitants must implement these Low Emission Zones.

That said, when the Law was officially approved in December 2022, the Spanish Government also implemented a transition period for town halls and local authorities to adapt. Torrevieja and Orihuela, for example, who will have to comply with the Law, have not even started the process yet. Benidorm, another example, put the work to tender in the first week in January. Cartagena has said that they will not be implementing a Low Emission Zone as a large part of their city is already pedestrianised.

It is up to the local authorities to comply with the Environmental Protection Law. As a driver, we simply need to watch for the road sign that indicates a Low Emission Zone and act accordingly by only entering if our vehicle is displaying the appropriate sticker as indicated on these signs.

Low Emissions Zone sign in Spain

  • Does the Eco Sticker expire?

No. The Eco Sticker will be valid for the life of the vehicle. However, what is expected to change is that as time goes by, these zones will become more restrictive, so as our vehicles get older, we may find that we are excluded from entering. This is not likely to happen for some years yet though, and again, as we have mentioned, all we have to do is monitor the signs to make sure out sticker is allowed in the zone.

  • Can foreign registered vehicles obtain Spanish Eco Stickers?

No. Only vehicles registered on the Spanish database can obtain the Eco Sticker. However, there are a limited number of European countries that have a similar scheme to Spain, and some of these stickers are valid in this country. Remember though, if your vehicle is not displaying a Spanish Eco Sticker, or the permitted one from the limited number of EU countries, you are generally not allowed to enter these Low Emission Zones.

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