Marbella's new low emission zone: and other green initiatives.

13th February 2024
Home > News > Marbella's new low emission zone: and other green initiatives.

Marbella's new low emission zone: and other green initiatives.

Marbella: known for its beautiful beaches, eclectic nightlife, gourmet restaurants, and almost year-round sunshine, is paving the way towards a greener, more ecologically sustainable, and healthier future for its residents and visitors.

In October 2023, Marbella town hall approved the implementation of a low emission zone (zonas de bajas emisiones). This significant step towards a cleaner and healthier environment, aims to tackle air quality issues and reduce pollution levels in the city.

The ‘Marbella Low Emission Zone,’ officially started on 1st of January 2024. The town hall's decision to introduce this measure aligns with global efforts to combat climate change and improve air quality in urban areas.

The primary goal is to create a healthier living environment, by enhancing the air quality. To achieve this, the town hall has restricted the entry of high-emission vehicles into specific zones within the city. The affected areas include popular spots such as the city centre, residential neighbourhoods, and key tourist destinations.

What are low (and zero) emission zones?

In recent years, there has been a growing global concern about air pollution and its impact on public health and the environment. To address this issue, many cities and regions worldwide have implemented Low Emission Zones and Zero Emission Zones. But what exactly are they?

Low Emission Zones (LEZ) are areas where restrictions are placed on vehicles based on their emissions. In these zones, only vehicles that meet specific standards are allowed to enter.

A low-emission vehicle is a motor vehicle that emits relatively low levels of motor vehicle emissions; very generally speaking, these are cars that produce 75g/km or less of carbon dioxide. This typically means that older, more polluting vehicles may face restrictions, while those with lower emissions or alternative fuel sources, such as electric or hybrid vehicles, are encouraged.

The main goal of an LEZ is to improve air quality by reducing the amount of pollution generated by vehicles, some common pollutants being targeted are nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate matter.

Zero Emission Zones (ZEZ) take the concept a step further by allowing only vehicles that produce zero tailpipe emissions to enter. This includes electric vehicles (EVs) and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. ZEZs are a crucial component of efforts to combat climate change and reduce dependence on fossil fuels.

There are several motivations behind LEZ’s, these include -

Improving health. LEZs aim to protect public health by decreasing the levels of harmful pollutants in the air. Exposure to high levels of air pollution has been linked to respiratory problems, cardiovascular diseases, and other health issues.

Protecting the environment. By reducing emissions from vehicles, LEZs contribute to the overall improvement of air quality, leading to positive effects on the environment, including reduced smog and a decrease in acid rain.

Encouraging cleaner technology. LEZs incentivise the use and development of cleaner transportation technologies, such as electric and hybrid vehicles. This push towards cleaner alternatives helps to advance the transition to more sustainable and eco-friendly transportation options.

To take this a stage further, ZEZ’s promote the following -

Climate action. ZEZ’s play a vital role in mitigating climate change by promoting the adoption of vehicles that produce no greenhouse gas emissions. This supports global efforts to reduce carbon footprints and transition to a more sustainable and low-carbon future.

Technology innovation. ZEZ’s encourage the development and adoption of cutting-edge technologies in the automotive industry. The focus on zero-emission vehicles stimulates innovation and the creation of more sustainable transportation solutions.

There are already low and zero emission zones in a number of cities around the world. They are essential tools in the fight against climate change. Major metropolitan areas and environmentally conscious regions throughout Europe are leading the way in the introduction of them.

Cities such as London, Paris, and Berlin, have successfully established and expanded these zones. Additionally, some countries, like Norway and the Netherlands, are actively promoting and adopting zero-emission policies.


Low emission zones in Spain.

In a significant move towards environmental sustainability, Spain has recently implemented a nationwide LEZ to tackle air pollution and promote cleaner living. This initiative, started in 2023, and part of the ‘Climate Change and Energy Transition Law’ will eventually be put into action in all Spanish cities with more than 50,000 inhabitants.

It consists of controlling the access of vehicles to urban areas, according to the pollution they produce. It aims to create healthier cities, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and improve the overall quality of life for residents and visitors alike.

The new LEZ covers major cities and urban areas across Spain, including Barcelona, Madrid, Valencia, Seville, and more. This broad application underscores the nationwide commitment to address air quality concerns.

Spain has adopted a phased approach to the implementation of the LEZs, allowing vehicle owners and residents time to adapt. The initial phase will involve awareness campaigns, education, and voluntary compliance, followed by stricter enforcement in subsequent phases.


Low emission zones on the Costa del Sol.

As of February 2024, several municipalities on the Costa del Sol have adopted LEZs to combat air pollution and encourage the use of eco-friendly transportation. Key areas include Malaga, Marbella, and Estepona, among others. These zones are typically identified by road signs, indicating the need for compliance with emission standards. 

Residents of the Costa del Sol need to be aware of the specific regulations in their municipality. LEZs habitually restrict the entry of vehicles with high emissions, this will generally include older diesel and petrol cars. To navigate these zones seamlessly, residents should consider upgrading to more environmentally friendly vehicles or utilising public transportation. Many municipalities offer incentives for residents to make this shift, such as tax breaks or subsidies for electric and hybrid vehicles.

Tourists planning a visit to the Costa del Sol should also take note of the LEZs in the region. It's advisable to check the emission standards of any rental cars or choose alternative transportation options, such as electric scooters, bicycles, or public transit, in these areas. Being informed about the specific regulations in the areas tourists plan to visit will help visitors enjoy their stay without facing unexpected challenges related to low emission zones.


Municipalities in the Malaga province with Low Emission Zones.

  1. Velez-Malaga
  2. Malaga City
  3. Torremolinos
  4. Benalmadena
  5. Fuengirola
  6. Mijas
  7. Marbella
  8. San Pedro Alcántara
  9. Estepona

Each municipality will apply its own specific restrictions and regulations; watch out for those already implemented in your area, and anywhere you are driving to.


Municipalities in Andalusia with Low Emission Zones.

If you are going to be travelling further afield, there are other areas and cities within the autonomous community of Andalusia that will apply the same restrictions.

  1. Almeria - Almeria city, Roquetas de Mar, El Ejido.
  2. Cadiz - Cadiz city, Jerez de la Frontera, Algeciras, San Fernando, El Puerto de Santa María, Chiclana de la Frontera, Sanlucar de Barrameda, La Línea de la Concepcion.
  3. Cordoba - Cordoba city.
  4. Granada - Granada city, Motril.
  5. Huelva - Huelva city.
  6. Jaen - Jaen city, Linares.
  7. Seville - Seville city, Dos Hermanas, Alcala de Guadaira, Utrera.

This list is not exhaustive, and will be added to over time, so it is best to check ahead wherever you are intending to visit.


Can I check whether my car meets the low emissions criteria?

Vehicles that incorrectly enter a low emission zone could be subject to a fine of €200. Eventually these fines will be mandatory nationwide. Note: some areas are currently running the schemes without implementing the fines, in order to raise awareness, and get residents or visitors used to it.

If you want to know whether your car meets the low emission criteria, and whether you can drive in a LEZ zone then you can check on the DGT website at –

Type in your vehicle's registration number and you will be able to find out what emissions classification it has.

To drive in a low (or zero) emission zone (should your car be eligible) you will need to display the relevant eco-sticker. These can be purchased from the post office (Correos); you will need your vehicle documents, your driver's license, and identification; or alternatively you can buy one online on the DGT website here –

The eco-sticker should then be placed on the lower right-hand corner of the windshield on the inside of your vehicle. For motorbikes without windscreens or limited space, place the eco-sticker in the most visible location. 


Green initiatives in Spain.

Spain held the ‘Presidency of the Council of the European Union’ during the second half of 2023, during this period, in his speech to the European Parliament on 13 December, the President of Spain, Pedro Sánchez, said that one of the top priorities of the Spanish presidency was to make progress in the green transition and environmental adaptation.

In his statement Sánchez said, "I am convinced that in the not-too-distant future, the regions that will grow the most will be those that know how to do so in balance with nature. And thanks to the measures we are taking, Europe will be at the forefront of them."

In recent years, Spain has emerged as a frontrunner in the global battle against climate change. With a strong commitment to environmental sustainability, the country has implemented a series of green initiatives, particularly focusing on low emission policies.

These include:

  • Renewable energy. Spain has undergone a remarkable transformation in its energy sector, emphasising the use of renewable sources. Wind and solar power have taken centre stage, with significant investments in wind farms and solar installations. The government's commitment to phasing out coal-fired power plants further highlights Spain's dedication to reducing carbon emissions.
  • Electric vehicles. Spain is accelerating its transition to electric vehicles (EVs) to reduce reliance on traditional fossil fuels. Incentives, such as subsidies for EV purchases and the expansion of charging infrastructure, are encouraging citizens to make the switch. This initiative not only cuts down emissions but also positions Spain at the forefront of sustainable transportation.
  • Energy efficiency. Spain is actively promoting energy efficiency across various sectors. From industries to households, initiatives are in place to reduce energy consumption and minimize environmental impact. This includes the implementation of energy-efficient technologies, better insulation, and smart grids.

Spain's efforts align with broader initiatives within the European Union (EU). The EU has set ambitious targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing the share of renewable energy. Collaborative efforts, such as the Green Deal, aim to transform the entire continent into a climate-neutral economy. Spain's commitment is part of a larger collective push within Europe to combat global warming.


Green initiatives in Marbella.

Marbella, renowned for its luxury resorts, and vibrant lifestyle, is also making strides in environmental sustainability. Alongside the low emission zone, the city is actively implementing various other green initiatives to preserve its natural beauty and contribute to global efforts to combat climate change.

Here are some of the environmentally friendly initiatives that Marbella has put in place:

  • Eco-friendly transportation. Marbella is committed to reducing its carbon footprint through the promotion of eco-friendly transportation options. The city has invested in bike lanes, pedestrian-friendly zones, and public transportation improvements. Electric vehicle charging stations have been strategically placed throughout the city, encouraging residents and visitors to opt for cleaner modes of transportation.
  • Waste management and recycling. Marbella places a strong emphasis on waste management and recycling programs. The city has implemented comprehensive recycling systems, making it easy for residents and businesses to dispose of their waste responsibly. Educational campaigns are regularly organised to raise awareness about the importance of recycling and reducing single-use plastic consumption.
  • Green spaces and urban planning. Marbella is committed to preserving its green spaces and biodiversity. The city incorporates sustainable urban planning practices to maintain a balance between development and nature. Parks and green areas are meticulously maintained, providing not only recreational spaces for residents but also contributing to improved air quality and overall well-being.
  • Renewable energy initiatives. In a bid to reduce dependence on non-renewable energy sources, Marbella is investing in renewable energy initiatives. Solar panels can be seen on public buildings, and the city is actively exploring opportunities for wind and other renewable energy sources. These efforts align with global goals to transition towards cleaner and more sustainable energy alternatives.
  • Green building practices. Marbella is encouraging sustainable construction and green building practices. New developments are encouraged to incorporate energy-efficient technologies, green roofs, and other environmentally friendly features. The city's commitment to green building practices aims to minimise the environmental impact of construction and contribute to long-term energy efficiency.
  • Community engagement and education. Marbella recognises the importance of community engagement and education in fostering a sustainable environment. The city organises workshops, seminars, and awareness campaigns to educate residents, businesses, and tourists about the significance of adopting green practices. By empowering the community with knowledge, Marbella aims to create a collective commitment towards a more sustainable future.
  • Sustainable houses. As environmental awareness grows globally, Marbella's local council is taking steps to promote eco-friendly building practices by actively encouraging the construction of sustainable houses to minimise the environmental impact of urban development. With a focus on preserving the region's natural beauty and biodiversity, the council has implemented guidelines and standards to ensure that new constructions adhere to eco-friendly principles. (Including energy efficiency and water conservation).
  • Energy Efficiency. Builders in Marbella are encouraged to incorporate energy-efficient technologies, such as solar panels and high-quality insulation, to reduce energy consumption and lower the carbon footprint of homes.


The implementation of solar technologies in Marbella.

Spain has long been committed to transitioning towards sustainable and renewable energy sources, with solar power playing a crucial role. The country's abundant sunlight makes it a prime candidate for solar energy projects, and the government has implemented various policies to encourage the adoption of solar technologies.

Marbella, known for its commitment to sustainability and environmental awareness, has been actively encouraging the adoption of solar power within its municipality. The local council has implemented policies to streamline the process for obtaining permits for solar installations, and established guidelines and regulations to ensure the safe and effective deployment of solar infrastructure; making it easier for residents and businesses to embrace solar technologies.

Additionally, Marbella has been promoting community solar projects, where neighbourhoods come together to invest in shared installations. As the sun continues to shine generously across Spain, the adoption of solar power is set to grow.

By embracing green practices, Marbella not only enhances its own strength but also sets an inspiring example for other cities around the world. Whether you're a homeowner looking to reduce your carbon footprint and find the perfect place in the sun; or a visitor wanting a more ecologically friendly vacation spot, the brilliant blue skies and fresh(er) air of Marbella, and the Costa del Sol await you.


Property Sales in Marbella.

Dolan Property: We are a local team of real estate experts, here to help you. Based in the heart of Marbella’s Golden Mile, we specialise in high quality, desirable properties in prime residential locations; Nagüeles, Sierra Blanca, Cascada de Camoján, East and West Marbella, Istan Road, Nueva Andalucia, and the new Golden Mile in Estepona.

Dolan Property specialists are committed to the highest levels of business and ethical standards, and we are proud members of the Leading Property Agents of Spain (LPA).

Foto de Magda Ehlers:



Share this article
  • icon
  • icon

Related News Articles

Spain ceases the Golden Visa scheme.

Spain ceases the Golden Visa scheme. Earlier this month, in a significant policy shift, the Spanish government announced the cessation of the Golden Visa scheme, marking the end of an era for foreign investors seeking residency through property investment. Since 2013, the Golden Visa program has attracted investors from around the globe, offering residency rights in exchange...

Summer celebrations in Estepona.

Foto de Nuh Isa: PropertyYour trusted Marbella real estate agent and property specialist on the Golden Mile.22nd June 2023By Michael DolanSummer celebrations in Estepona. Summer is here, bringing with it endless days of brilliant blue skies, and sizzling temperatures.Visitors flock to the coastal tow...

Royal decree puts an end to mask wearing

Dolan Property Your trusted Marbella real estate agent and property specialist on the Golden Mile. Royal decree puts an end to mask wearing 4th May 2022 By Michael Dolan   New rules for masks April 20th saw the long-awaited end to the mandatory wearing of face masks indoors. The change, which was effective throughout mainland Spain and the islands, means that in s...

Andalusia’s government has just agreed to lower taxes!

Dolan Property Your trusted Marbella real estate agent, property specialist on the Golden Mile. BLOG   Good news from Marbella Andalusia’s government has just agreed to lower taxes! May 13. 2021 By Michael Dolan   "Prospective purchasers should seriously consider buying now and take advantage of this time-gated opportunity to save a huge amount in...