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Madrid launches ban on most polluting cars

File photo dated 02/02/07 of car exhaust emissions. A study by researchers at the universities of Oxford and Bath found that pollution from cars and vans cost almost £6 billion in damage to health each year in the UK, with the worst impact from diesel vehicles. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Wednesday June 6, 2018. The research suggests that the health costs to the NHS and society was worst in cities, with the cost from the average car in inner London over the vehicle's lifetime on the road at £7,714. See PA story ENVIRONMENT Pollution. Photo credit should read: Lewis Whyld/PA Wire

Madrid has activated an anti-pollution order that significantly restricts private vehicles in the city centre, including a total ban on the most polluting cars.

The much-debated plan establishes a 472-hectare low-emission zone in the heart of the Spanish capital.

Petrol vehicles manufactured before 2000 and diesel ones registered prior to 2006 are banned from the area or will face a 90 euro (£80) fine.

Only public buses, taxis, residents and some professional vehicles are exempt.

Electric, zero-emission cars are allowed in.

Some local politicians say the plan will have meagre effects on air quality and is a publicity stunt by the city's mayor Manuela Carmena.

Ms Carmena, a left-wing former judge, said those opposed to the changes will get used to the restrictions and increase their use of public transport.