The Spanish capital bans privately-owned cars with even-numbered registration plates from its roads as a dry stretch of weather sends pollution levels soaring above legal limits. Colette Luke reports.
Broadcasters: Digital: **~NONE**~ Millions of motorists may not get to drive their cars through Madrid. A dry stretch of sunny weather is sending pollution levels soaring above European Union-set limits. The city banned all privately-owned cars with even-numbered registration plates from its streets for Thursday. It says those restrictions could alternate between odd and even numbered plates for as long as the severe pollution continue. The new measures are getting mixed reactions from locals. (SOUNDBITE) RESIDENT JOSE LUIS SAYING: "Today we who have even number plates can't leave the city. I don't know why ... I think that it restricts my freedom." (SOUNDBITE) RESIDENT MARGARITA SAYING: "We can't maintain these traffic levels. Improve public transport and restrict private traffic, also vehicle technical controls or the promotion of more electric cars" Madrid, which has almost 4 million cars, has been cracking down on air pollution later than other European cities. Earlier in December, Paris imposed similar driving restrictions. And on Thursday, with pollution levels peaking again, the French capital offered free residential parking to people abandoning their cars.. after a month of some of the worst pollution in a decade.