Who is behind the lawsuit against Barcelona’s low emission zone?

Ada Colau is the mayor of Barcelona -of modern history for sure, but who knows if of all time- that more times has had to face a lawsuit. The consultation on the municipalization of water, the plan to put order in tourist accommodation, the veto certain hotels in Ciutat Vellathe use of concrete blocks…, there are more than ten cases, most of them already archived, which the municipal government.

Curiously, they always affect the portfolios controlled by Barcelona en Comú, not those in the hands of the PSC. There is a mantra in the air that certain lobis are behind much of the legal offense against the ‘commons’. But in the case of lawsuit against low emission zone seems to apply more than expected: outrage at a public decision that ends up in court. In this case, that of a good handful of entities linked to transport and determined to return to the situation prior to January 2020, when the most polluting cars stopped entering the ZBE.

David Llort is the president of the Platform for People Affected by Circulatory Restrictions (PARC), created in 2016 but legally constituted in 2017. It openly answers the question of whether they have a company or institution behind them that is guiding or financing them. “No, it we pay for everything with donations or from the partners or anonymous, we are apolitical and no one on the board is affiliated with any political party.” He says that they have not received money from private companies and that they have 3,000 partners. Their lawsuit was the mother ship of the other five presented by other entities: self-employed carriersmechanical workshop, large families, discretionary transport or machinery guilds. “We went looking for related associations that could also be affected by the ZBE. And if we got to the courts it was because despair when verifying that they did not pay any attention to us”.

Suspend the ZBE

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Llort explains that the association’s lawyers will surely present a request for provisional execution of the sentencethat is to say, that they ask the judge to annul the ZBE despite the fact that the verdict is not final because the city council has 30 days to file an appealsomething that it has already announced that it will do shortly with the help of the Government and the other four municipalities that remain within the perimeter that limit the rounds of Dalt and Litoral. The president of the PARC does not hide his satisfaction with the sentence, but he is aware that the game is still open. As is, he maintains, “the negotiation.” “We are willing to talk with them about how the ZBE should be. We proposed a more limited areanot an entire city. Part of Ciutat Vella or Gràcia, for example. We also want a clean Airbut thinking of everyone.

The PARC considers that the moratoriums on carriers and coaches are not enough, since the only thing that is achieved is “delaying the problem”. “The citizen -continues Llort- has no alternatives, nothing has been done to improve metropolitan public transport and they only cared about prohibit and control“. He also denounces the lack of studies that support the ZBE, an argument that is, in fact, the basis of the court ruling, and the pillar of the municipal response, because the consistory considers that the magistrates have not taken into account all the legislation that has to do with climate change and health. The council has 28 days to turn the situation around. The plaintiff, meanwhile, will keep up the pressure to bring down the plan. The ball, again, on the court’s roof. And politics hovering over the scene.

These are the entities that have filed complaints against the low emission zone:

  • Platform for People Affected by Circulatory Restrictions (PARC).

  • Guild of Transport and Construction Machinery of Catalonia.

  • General Association of Self-Employed-Pimes Carriers of Catalonia.

  • Catalan Transport Federation of Barcelona (Transcalit).

  • Association of Condal Grouped Carriers (Astac Condal).

  • Spanish Association of Loading Companies (Transprime).

  • Association of Large Families of Catalonia.

  • Catalan Business Federation of Passenger Transport (FECAV).

  • Association of Discretionary Transport Employers of Catalonia (Audica).

  • Provincial Guild of Car Repair and Maintenance Workshops of Barcelona.

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