Desislava Bileva: Before we ban solid fuel stoves, we must give people an alternative

From concluded contracts for replacement of 5,000 stoves we will install over 1300 new devices by the end of the year, promised the Deputy Mayor of Sofia

Climate / Bulgaria
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"The project under the" Environment "program of Sofia for the replacement of old heating appliances is until 2023 and is planned for approximately 9,500 households. The value of the project is BGN 34 million. Of these 9,500 households, we have concluded contracts for over 5,000 "By the end of the year, we will install more than 1,300 devices from them," Desislava Bileva commented for 3e-news.net. I do not know what it is 34 that some NGOs comment on, but it is important to use correct data because it is data misuse and demotivates people to apply. These are public funds and the information must be provided correctly.

We are not talking about 20,000 families. Under the Environment program we are talking about 9000 households, the integrated project under the LIFE program is for 4800. The total number is not more than 15 000 households. The LIFE project is until December 2024 and is divided into a pilot phase, first and second phase. We are currently collecting applications for the second phase, because the deadline is 2024. The first phase is 140 devices, of which we have installed absolutely all.

OP "Environment" our contract is for BGN 34 million and the indicator we are pursuing is 9500 households. These are public funds and they all go to public procurement. Under OP Environment, the contract was signed in mid-2019. The pilot phase was to identify the families. This is a kind of grant for citizens a boiler varies from 1000 to 4000 levs. According to the standard calculation of BGN 34 million, a little over BGN 3,500 per household.

"There should have been a first phase to approve the requirements for households. Based on this we have over 5,000 signed contracts and by the end of the year we will have over 1,000 installed appliances. I do not see a delay, the deadlines for replacement of heating appliances is until 2023, according to the deputy mayor.

Under OPE they have the right to choose gas, district heating, pellets, air conditioners. The most preferred option by people are pellets and air conditioners, Bileva commented. They prefer pellets because in most areas they are already heated with wood and coal and have a built-in installation.

Regarding the increase in the price of pellets this year, she commented that all new heating devices have thermostats and are much more energy efficient. Lately, it has become more and more expensive to buy wood. You all see what happened to the price of electricity and speculation began with the price of wood and even pellets.

According to Bileva, a voucher scheme needs to be introduced in the new "Environment" program. The managing authority should talk to the Commission about the households when they buy the appliance, so that the amount is reimbursed so that the long process is not further delayed - public procurement, selection of a contractor. The process of managing the program is very complicated, but we still do it. The managing authority also envisages a measure for replacement of the heating appliances during the next programming period.

Asked whether the burning of solid fuels should be banned, she commented:

"Of course, but this is a measure that we can take, like Poland, only when we give people the opportunity to change their heating appliances for free by 2024. Then we can already say we are introducing a low-emission zone for domestic heating and partially ban it. "We want to ban the use of solid fuels, oil and coal from wood from tomorrow, but we must first give people an alternative."

Bileva said that the decision of the Sofia City Court concerns decision 2015-2017. The court found what had not been done and what had been done and recommended that the heating devices be replaced, that bike lanes be built and that ecological transport be carried out.

But we have not stopped working on these measures. We significantly improve air quality. The average annual concentration of fine dust particles of 40 micrograms for 3 years is normal, she added. This is also measured by the new mobile stations of the municipality. "We also want to inform people as much as possible about the levels of dust on the relevant indicators and to take measures," Bileva argued. In Sofia there is a 16% share in the pollution of the mud dust, and this year in over 20 districts we have neutralized the mud, we are trying to integrate the bike lanes, we replace the public transport with completely ecological and zero emission rolling stock, we work with NRIC to Sofia instead of their personal cars and to stop their cars in Lyulin, we launched a third metro line, in Ovcha Kupel we launched three underground parking lots with over 700 buffer spaces, Bileva explained. But in the interest of truth, because of COVID-19, people continued to use their personal cars and prefer them to move around the city. On the other hand, the deputy mayor pointed out that the pollution of external sources should be taken into account and it should not be overlooked that it has a share of 16% in Sofia. "We hope that the Fair Transition will neutralize the pollution from TPP Bobov Dol," she added.

It is true that it needs to be upgraded, but we have not stopped working in this direction, said the deputy mayor.

The best option is for the municipality not to appeal the court's decision and to start acting on the recommendations for reducing pollution and to show more significant results within a year, the lawyer of citizens and non-governmental organizations, which is a party, commented a few days ago. in the case of Dimo ​​Gospodinov. There is no final information from the municipality whether it will appeal the decision of the court of first instance.

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