The Ombudsman criticizes the new Madrid Central de Almeida: “It is a setback. You have to review it ”| Madrid

New setback for the mayor of Madrid, José Luis Martínez-Almeida. The Ombudsman, Francisco Fernández Marugán, has sent a letter to the City Council of the capital, in which he asks for a review of the new regulation of the Sustainable Mobility Ordinance, approved on September 13 in the plenary session of the City Council by the PP , Citizens and four votes from the left.

In the letter, to which EL PAÍS has had access, the Ombudsman maintains that Madrid Distrito Centro (the new name that replaces the defunct Madrid Central) represents an “environmental setback”. In addition, the defender considers that the regulation of the areas of special protection is “improvable” and that it is necessary to establish “an additional regulation that reduces administrative discretion regarding the granting of exceptional permits.”

With the new ordinance, the perimeter of Central Madrid remains the same, but the logos and marquees bearing that name have been removed from the streets at an expense of 185,000 euros. But, here is the novelty, more cars will enter than before because now the vehicles of the 15,000 merchants in the downtown area have been allowed to enter, who were previously prohibited.

“Under the alleged equalization with the residents,” writes the Ombudsman, “a more lax regime is reached, since now more cars enter than was allowed in the previous legislation, without there being also an official estimate of the number of automobiles that will circulate through the zone of low emissions of special protection, nor technical reports that guarantee that the adoption of this measure does not imply a setback in environmental protection ”.

In addition, he urges Almeida to “review the regulation of the new low emission zone, guaranteeing, at least, the level of environmental protection that existed in 2018.” The institution also believes that the restrictions applied to the Elíptica Plaza Special Protection Zone – which will take place in the coming months – are very limited, both due to its territorial scope and scope, since only access is restricted to vehicles with the A distinctive ―those that lack environmental labels―, and within this, exceptions are still established. This area, 15 times smaller than the Central District, encompasses 17 streets in this corner of southern Madrid, one of the most polluting.

The defender also wants the regulation of this new special protection area to be reviewed, in line with the report of the General Directorate of Sustainability and Climate Change of the Ministry of the Environment, Spatial Planning and Sustainability of the Community of Madrid, of February 9, 2021. In the letter, the Regional Ministry of the Environment, also from the PP, considered it “convenient” to study the expansion of the area occupied by this area, since it estimated that the “small area can cause an effect from change of route in the vehicles, which would border the area, achieving the unwanted effect of increased emissions and therefore the worsening of air quality. “

On the other hand, the defender has urged the Madrid council to establish as soon as possible the monitoring, control and evaluation measures contemplated in the new mobility ordinance so that the evolution of the levels of contamination in the areas of special protection and check the general scope of the entry into force of the modifications made.

The Ombudsman is the High Commissioner of the General Courts in charge of defending the fundamental rights and public liberties of citizens by supervising the activity of the Spanish public administrations. Since 2017 it has been held by the Extremaduran socialist politician Francisco Fernández Marugán.

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