The challenge of Low Emission Zones in urban mobility

Climate Change and Energy Conversion Law Approved by the Government in 2021 Obliges all Spanish municipalities with more than 50,000 inhabitants to have limited circulation areas for polluting vehiclesA measure that came into force in 2023 with the aim of improving the environmental quality of urban environments. These fields are called Low Emission Zones (ZBE) and are part of the so-called Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans.

To know How will this new reality affect the logistics and distribution industry? and the solutions companies can provide to adapt to it, the «City and low emissions» digital gathering brought together this week on the INFORMACIÓN TV set Manuel Villar, Environmental Councilor of Alicante City Council; Armando Ortuño, professor of Region, Transport and Environment in the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Alicante; Adela Torres, Mercadona Head of Environment, and Juan José Hernández, President of Fetrama.

A discussion space, moderated by INFORMATION Club director Toni Cabot, where experts analyze how relevant municipalities, and especially Alicante, can comply with this state regulation and how it will affect them.

Beyond reducing emissions

The meeting started with the discussion of the targets to be achieved with the new Low Emission Zones. All experts, first and foremost «reducing polluting gases released into the atmosphere and making cities healthier places»As noted Juan José Hernandez Fetrama.

However, the participants, with this measure, The aim is not only to improve the environmental quality of air in urban centers, but also to reduce noise pollution, mitigate climate change, promote ecological transition and energy efficiency in the use of transportation vehicles.: «In Alicante we do not have the pollution problems of other cities, thanks to the movement of the sea, which reduces the effects of greenhouse gases. But there is much to be done in terms of noise, traffic, occupation of urban space.… This new law has been very important in supporting municipalities and enabling them to act faster than before. in terms of the environment,” continued the professor. au Armando Ortuno.


LEZs and transportation

In particular, with regard to Low Emission Zones (ZBE), councilor Manuel Villar said, «It may cause some inconveniences in some sectors such as transportation and trade, especially in loading and unloading.But the important thing is that we will use the advantage of this investment. take a leap in quality in mobility city ​​of Alicante and we will try to offer maximum conveniences.

And this is as stated Adela Torres Mercadona Sustainability Department“The mobility industry is involved in this new law and we need to have easy access to both distribution points and customer homes.” In addition, “there are difficulties, but Mechanisms exist to ensure food supply without increasing – or even reducing – pollutant emissions and traffic problems».

How will it affect the industry?

During the forum, experts also discussed how LEZs could affect companies, particularly in procurement and home services. In this sense, Fetrama president said, “We expect to see for sure how this new measure will affect us. It has not yet been determined which vehicles can travel around the city.». However, Juan José Hernández pointed out that logistics companies are in constant communication with vehicle manufacturers to adapt to new technologies that will reduce greenhouse gases: «Very acceptable electric vehicles for city delivery are already on offer. This fleet modernization will do much more sustainable logistics, but there is still much to be done and I think the market is not ready at the moment» referred to the supply crisis that had such an impact on the automotive industry.

Adela Torres noted that the world of distribution is modernizing very quickly: «trucks MercadonaFor example, they are renewed every three years, so we have a young fleet adapted to new technologies». Also, Mercadona Environmental Manager explained that as distributors, they have two main fronts open to new Low Emission Zones: the in-store distribution model and home delivery when it comes to food distribution. It is essential to consider the temperature needs of the products.: “LEZs are permanent, but There must be some necessary deadlines for markets to incorporate these solutions without risking failure or backtracking.. This is a huge challenge in the urban distribution of goods, so we need time for fleets to adapt to requirements and vice versa.”

Alicante City Council has set up an e-mail address that is currently operational for public inquiries and suggestions about ZBEs: [email protected]


Positive impact and challenges

Professor Armando Ortuño explained how these new restrictions will be aligned with the maintenance of the services and supplies of the city centers where they apply: «Restrictions on private vehicles to increase the pedestrianization of the city should go hand in hand with improvements in public transport. so that the citizen can better accept and adapt to this new form of mobility”. Ortuño also spoke of electric scooters in this sense: “We need a well-developed network for use in the city, as it is a fully sustainable means of transport.” And he put the following fact on the table as a challenge on an inter-city scale: discriminating by vehicle type in highway tolls: “so the most polluting vehicles pay higher prices”».

The Alicante Environmental Council Member, for his part, stressed that: Madrid Central’s controversial approach is not the approach to be applied in Alicante.: «We don’t want LEZs to interfere with activity nor will we be as lax as possible regarding logistics companies and deadlines within certain limits. We will have all of 2023 to perfect these conditions and eliminate any problems that may arise. Our obligation to the City Council is that LEZs compatible with facilitating the quality of life of citizens.» .

Likewise, Villar concluded his words as follows: Low Emission Zones should be seen as an opportunity to improve urban mobility and “take a city tour” in Alicante.»: «This new law helps us attract help from Europe to improve public transport, make it feasible, fast and comfortable; to build parks and amusement parks well connected to the centre; pedestrianizing urban areas or buying more electric buses, among other goals,” he explained.

It should be noted that the Alicante City Council has already set up an e-mail address for citizen questions and suggestions about ZBEs: [email protected]

During the forum, experts also discussed how LEZs could affect companies, particularly in procurement and home services.

Sustainable measures are very beneficial for logistics

During the digital meeting, Adela TorresResponsible for the Environment at Mercadona, “the supply of goods and food in cities is as much as possible ensure the supply of any store and sustainably provide optimum customer service».

In this sense, He gave Mercadona and its distribution model as an example.: «maximum transport more with less trucks. For this, we plan the routes very well, we prevent the trucks from going empty; We also apply reverse logistics, which consists of transporting recyclable materials and products back to their point of origin for their use. Also, we focus trailer distribution -biggest trucks on the market- To minimize the number of trips, We ensure that the time they spend in the city environment is as little as possible and will not interfere with traffic. This model is known as Quiet off-peak logisticsand at Mercadona we have made a firm commitment to that. Moreover, As viable Zero Emission solutions are coming, we use gas as a transition fuel. Finally, we are constantly renewing our fleet with the latest technical and sustainability innovations: no Mercadona truck is more than three years old», Adela Torres concluded.


Manuel Villar, Environmental Councilor of the Alicante City Council. alex dominguez


“Our obligation to the City Council is that LEZs are aligned with facilitating the quality of life of citizens”

“You should see this new measure as an opportunity to improve urban mobility and get around the city in Alicante”

Juan José Hernández, President of FETRAMA alex dominguez


“We expect to see how the ZBE will affect us, as we are yet to define which vehicles will be able to circulate in the urban core.”

“Manufacturers are already finding very acceptable electric vehicles for delivery, but there is still much to be done”

Adela Torres, Head of Environment at Mercadona. alex dominguez


« There are mechanisms to ensure food supply by reducing pollutant emissions and traffic problems»

“Mercadona’s principle is to transport more with fewer trucks, avoid empty trips and put reverse logistics into practice”

Armando Ortuno. Professor of Region, Transport and Environment at the University of Alicante alex dominguez


“This new law allowed municipalities to act faster on the environment”

“Restrictions on private vehicles should go hand in hand with improvements in public transportation for the citizen.”

Source: Informacion


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