Benidorm City Council is finalising the deployment of technological elements that will allow the implementation tests of the Low Emissions Zone (ZBE) to begin as of next January 1, 2024, a mandatory project for all municipalities of more than 50,000. inhabitants and which aims to “improve urban mobility and the environmental quality of cities.”
This was announced by the mayor of the city, Toni Pérez, who appeared publicly alongside the mayor of Mobility, Francis Muñoz, and a technician from this department to explain all the details of the project, which will cover a total area of 74 hectares of the urban area and with which Benidorm is once again a pioneer "developing actions to contribute to improving the lives of our citizens."
Toni Pérez recalled that the Ministry has not yet ruled on the request for a moratorium promoted by many town councils throughout the country, but has pointed out that "regardless of whether it is granted or not, Benidorm has done its homework and will start from January the tests of the Low Emissions Zone.
The mayor has indicated that this testing phase “will last at least until after the summer – perhaps beyond if the moratorium is finally decreed – and that it will serve to test the new technology, to regulate and adapt access, circulation and management protocols. of the ZBE, as well as to introduce possible improvements” that come from the hand of citizens, groups or groups, within a participatory process that will be kept open for this project. And, in addition, he has sent a message of calm, indicating that its application will be “progressive, flexible and will adapt to the needs of residents, tourists and the transport sector.”
The first mayor recalled that the implementation of the Low Emissions Zone is contemplated in Law 7/2021 on Climate Change and Energy Transition, which includes the obligation for all cities with more than 50,000 inhabitants to apply different actions. aimed at promoting more sustainable urban mobility, coming into force from January 1, 2024.
Likewise, he highlighted that the City Council "has been working for a long time in line with what this law includes." Not in vain, in 2016, five years before its approval, “this City Council already approved its Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (PMUS) to organize mobility in our municipality under premises that have allowed us to recover spaces for pedestrian, improve accessibility, promote the use of more sustainable means of transport such as bicycles, generate thousands of deterrent parking spaces and facilitate the recharging of electric vehicles.”
The implementation of the PMUS, therefore, led Benidorm to “anticipate what the law now requires of us, outlining a Low Emissions Zone that encompassed part of the first line of Levante and Poniente, part of the urban center, and the accesses to the Tossal de la Cala y la Cruz", as well as "operating access restrictions and pedestrianization measures in the old town and the El Calvari neighborhood", all of this "to reduce the presence of vehicles in these areas and promote traffic pedestrian”, as Toni Pérez has highlighted.
In parallel to the work that had been previously carried out, Benidorm City Council obtained a subsidy of 3,170,250 euros in February 2022 from the Next Generation funds, within the framework of the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan, of which 1,422,000 Euros were allocated “directly and entirely to the implementation of the Low Emissions Zone.” These investments include the work on Armada Española Avenue, the creation of single-platform streets in the Maravall area, or the implementation of new streets with pedestrian preference, while access and circulation controls have been maintained or established in the old town or both promenades.
Finally, the mayor has stated that during the next month the installation of the last necessary infrastructure related to the ZBE will be completed, such as the new license plate reading and recognition cameras, to which devices already installed will be added, such as the environmental sensors that They will allow us to know the evolution and results of the measures; and others that will come into operation in January, such as an 'app' that will allow users to manage access permissions from their mobile phone, know the best itineraries or available parking spaces and receive all the information related to this project.
The ZBE will cover a total area of 74 hectares of the municipal area, divided into three zones: Levante, with 31 hectares, covering the section of Mediterranean Avenue from Europa to Plaza de la Hispanidad, the surrounding streets and the old town; the Central area, which covers 35 hectares, between the avenues of l'Aigüera and Jaime I; and the Poniente area, which corresponds to the 8 hectares that make up the first line from Jaime I to Vicente Llorca Alós.
Finally, the first mayor clarified that with the implementation of the ZBE “no new restrictions will be introduced” beyond those already in force in the affected areas and that the final objective of this project is “to reduce CO2 emissions, having less noise pollution, that on our streets there is less risk of accidents,....” In short, Pérez added, “to improve the lives of thousands of people, who have already seen a before and after in their neighborhoods in the last five years, and who will continue to see it from now on.”