The Metropolitan Municipal Council adopted the historic ordinance for low emissions, which will be operational from next year

Climate / Bulgaria
3E news
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Raya Lecheva

The Metropolitan Municipal Council adopted the ordinance for the introduction of zones with low emissions of harmful substances in the atmospheric air. This comes a few months after her vote was postponed, but only a few weeks ago it became clear that there would be another postponement. Then Democratic Bulgaria postponed its adoption with the argument that it was incomplete and did not guarantee that it would be effective. A few months later, it became clear that its implementation from the beginning of December was also impossible.

"In the summer, we did not allow the acceptance of the "Ordinance on the creation of zones with low emissions of harmful substances in Sofia" proposed by GERB in its dummy form and we set ourselves the goal of making the measures not just formal, but serious and effective," says Marta Georgieva, municipal councilor from Democratic Bulgaria.

We proposed that the ban on the most polluting cars in the city center should be enforced for the foreseeable future, cover a wider range of vehicles and apply all year round, not just in the winter months. We proposed that the ban on solid household fuel become a fact sooner, so that we can breathe easier, she also commented.

With another postponement, it is expected that from December 2023, the movement of the most polluting cars from the first and second environmental groups will be restricted in two zones. The two zones are "Malak Ring" (between "Vasil Levski", "Patriarch Evtimii", "Gen. Skobelev", "Slivnitsa" and "Oplchenska" boulevards). In "Golyam Ring" (between "Slivnitsa", "Danail Nikolaev", "Sitnyakovo", "P. Yavorov" boulevards, "Atanas Dukov" Str., "H. Ibsen" boulevard, "P. Yu. Todorov" boulevard) , "IE Geshov" Blvd. and "Konstantin Velichkov" Blvd.), restrictions will start from December 2027. It is important to note that the ban will only be seasonal for the winter months.

We were not provided with an analysis from the cameras installed on the two rings, through which we could get specific data about the cars that are currently entering the city center, commented Marta Georgieva, and also wrote on her Facebook profile.

There will be no restrictions for disabled people and residents. They must submit an application to the Central Municipal Administration to be included in the electronic database of the Metropolitan Municipality for passing through the zones, regardless of the ecological group.

And solid household fuel for the entire Sofia Municipality will be banned from the beginning of 2029.

Until then, those living in buildings without a heating (and/or gas distribution) network will be able to replace their old solid fuel stoves and boilers with new ecological appliances free of charge under programs and projects of the Metropolitan Municipality. From 2025, the introduction of the first low-emission zones for domestic heating remains, first for the regions with a built-in heat transmission network: "Sredets", "Krasno selo", "Izgrev", "Ilinden", "Studentski", "Oborishte", "Vazrazhdane" ", "Lozenets", "Triaditsa".

Heavy-duty vehicles and those for public transport could not enter the municipal Ordinance, as the latter do not have an Eco category defined by the legislator in Ordinance H-32 for periodic inspections to check the technical condition of road vehicles.

The Ordinance cannot really work in the absence of technical support - municipal automated technical means and systems for permanent video surveillance, photo recording (with a unique identification number), violation scanning devices and road signs indicating the prohibitions.

The important thing is to use this year to prepare people for the upcoming restrictions. We will insist that permanent measuring stations be placed in the city center to measure air pollution, explained Marta Georgieva.

In this way, stepping on real data, we will be able to constantly monitor and update the zones, control points and the measures themselves, she added.

I still have thousands of questions that people ask, what happens in an emergency situation if it is necessary to take a loved one to the center of Sofia urgently, how fines are imposed, how it is controlled and who will control the implementation of the ordinance. But first of all, people need to be convinced, not whether it is necessary, but that it is being introduced in the best and most effective way, in order to reduce further air pollution in Sofia. We all want to breathe clean air and it is important to be convinced that this is the right way to do so.



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