How to appeal a fine from Low Emission Zones?

Not long ago we talked about the new legislation and regulations that concern ZBEs and the amount of their fines. Circulating in these areas in 2024, whether in Madrid or another large city, could result in a fine of €200 (€100 in prompt payment) but due to carelessness, grace can leave us that way, let's see how we can appeal a fine from a ZBEas long as we detect any irregularity or try to try the process.

Current context

The establishment of Low Emission Zones (ZBE) in the main Spanish cities, with more than 50,000 inhabitants or even in those of more than 20,000 inhabitants that exceed certain pollution levels, has become a fundamental tool in government efforts to reduce pollution and improve air quality in urban environments. These zones restrict the circulation and parking of highly polluting vehicles.

The restrictions are closely linked to the environmental labels of the General Directorate of Traffic (DGT), and since January 1, 2024, they have been intensified in some cities. For example, in Madrid access is no longer allowed to any of its 21 districts if the vehicle does not have an environmental label, except in a few exceptions, such as residing in the city, having a vehicle for people with reduced mobility, being classified as historic by the DGT or be trucks, vans, motorcycles and mopeds. For many drivers, these changes can mean a fine of 200 euros (previously it was 90) for not complying with access regulations, which are not always clear.

How to appeal the ZBE fine

To begin with, the delimitation of Low Emission Zones (ZBE) requires a clear signagehighlighting exceptions to the norm, and often involves the implementation of automated control systems, such as cameras license plate recognition system, to ensure compliance with established restrictions.

Older or polluting vehicles can face significant penalties if they enter these areas without authorization. Most of the 149 cities affected by the Climate Change Law have launched their ZBEs or have presented projects to the Ministry of Ecological Transition.

In the event that we find any irregularity in the fine, we can proceed in this way:

Notification Review

It's fundamental review carefully review all the details of the notification received, such as the date, location and reason for the fine. In the case of complaints about improper access to ZBE, it is important to verify the corresponding signage on the road where the alleged infraction was committed, since its absence could justify an appeal.

In this sense, we can go and check the signage again to make sure that it is visible and/or is not covered, for example, by the vegetation of a tree or damaged.


The allegation is the first step to challenge the fine and must be carried out within a period of 20 business days from the receipt of the notification or its publication in the Boe's Single Edictal Board. In this document arguments can be presented based on procedural errors, inconsistencies in the documentation or other reasons that support the annulment of the fine. It is important to note that filing a complaint means that we will waive the prompt payment discount.

Replenishment resource

If the allegation is unsuccessful, the next step is to file an appeal for reconsideration, known as “appealing a fine.” This process involves a more extensive review and may require the submission of additional evidence. The deadline to present it is 30 days from the rejection of the allegation and in many City Councils, the appeal will be considered dismissed if an express resolution is not issued within one month.

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If the appeal for reconsideration is denied, you can choose to file a contentious-administrative appeal, which involves resorting to the courts and may require the assistance of an attorney specialized in administrative law. Although this process may be more complex and expensive, it offers the possibility of an impartial and independent review.

Given the increase in fines for ZBE since its notification period, there are specialized companies In the resources of these fines, even insurance companies make similar systems available to their insured that can help you with the procedures.

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