Via “The Autoblog Green” – Xavier Navarro (Source: El Periodico)
In order to fight carbon emissions and get closer to the goals of the Kyoto Protocol, the Catalan Ministry of Environmental Protection (Spain) has enacted a decree that will reduce the maximum speed for cars in the Barcelona metropolitan area from 120 to 80 km/h (75 to 50 mph). The law also sets for a recommendation of a maximum speed of 90 km/h (55 mph) in the so-called “second road ring” of the city metropolitan area. In order to implement this law, all the administrations (national, regional and local) will have to change the road signs as well as tune the speed cameras and radars next fall.
This measure resembles the strict 55-mph limits that the US implemented after the 1973 Oil Crisis, but the focus of this bill is more centered in clean air than in savings. Current NOx and particullate EU standards are 40 micrograms per cubic meter but, at times, current levels exceed 50. In Spain, transport is responsible of 40 to 52 percent of air pollution, affirms the Spanish Industry Ministry. The estimates are that lowering the speed limit from 120 to 80 km/h will reduce air pollution by 30 percent.
Other measures that the Catalan government will implement along with this speed reduction are: mobility plans for all companies with more than 500 workers (such as free chartered buses), using energy efficient machinery in ports and airports and the substitution of public vehicles with hybrids, CNG or at least biofuels.