The Catalan department of environment and housing has released data on air quality in Barcelona for 2008, showing an average 10 per cent drop in airborne pollutants compared to the previous year.

Nitrogen Oxide (N02) and fine particulate matter (PM10) counts have been reduced by 6 and 13 per cent respectively in the 16 municipalities that make up the inner ring of the Barcelona metropolitan area, confirming the success of the Generalitat’s July 2007 “Action Plan for Improving Air Quality”.

The plan includes setting speed limits at 80kph, promoting collective over private transport and converting public transport vehicles to non-polluting fuels.

High petrol and diesel prices also contributed to a reduced annual fuel consumption with benefits for air quality.