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Warsaw. The town hall summarizes the consultation on the diesel-free zone. 70 percent of the population agrees

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The capital city hall summed up the three-month consultations on the introduction of the Clean Transport Zone in Warsaw. Over three thousand comments were received. Officials indicate that 70 percent of the residents of the capital who took part in the consultations support the planned changes. These would go into effect in just over a year. But it is still not known how the area will be covered by the zone, as well as how to effectively control the vehicles entering it.

On Monday, the director of the Municipal Roads Authority in Warsaw, Tamas Dombi, presented to journalists and city activists the conclusions of the report prepared after public consultations on the introduction of the Clean Transport Zone in Warsaw. These ended on April 25.

The clean transport zone is a separate area where only vehicles that meet the relevant exhaust emission standards (professionally referred to as Euro standards) can move. These standards are directly linked to the vehicle’s production date. In Poland, until recently, there were no regulations enabling the creation of such zones, but they have been functioning in Europe for a long time – currently there are over 320 of them, the largest number in Germany and Italy. The first city to adopt a resolution on the implementation of such a solution is Kraków. The new regulations will apply from July 1, 2024.

According to the data contained in the government’s Clean Air program, poor air quality is responsible for 45,000 premature deaths in Poland. In turn, scientists from Harvard alarm that these deaths may be more than twice as many – about 93.8 thousand.

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Meanwhile, the zones introduced in many cities have clearly contributed to improving air quality. Emissions of poisonous nitrogen oxides fell in Madrid by 32 percent, London – 26 percent, and in Berlin by 20 percent.

Polish Smog Alarm about the clean transport zone in the capitalTVN24

City Hall: 70 percent of residents who took part in the survey support SCT

What are the main conclusions of the three-month consultation? One of their elements was a telephone survey conducted at the turn of March and April on a group of 1,020 residents of the capital. Opinions were collected on behalf of the town hall by the PBS research company. Research shows that 70 percent of respondents support SCT in Warsaw. In addition, the zone is supported by 68 percent. respondents who have a car in the household, and 66 percent. regular drivers. According to this study, 80 percent of residents who do not use a car at all want SCT in the capital.

42 percent of respondents support the creation of SCT in Śródmieście. Another 46 percent want it to be extended in relation to the proposal presented in the consultations, and 26 percent. – extending it to the whole city.

The consultation itself consisted of eight general meetings: five face-to-face and three online, for a total of 40 hours. There were also several industry meetings with representatives of companies, associations and institutes. A total of over 3,000 applications were received via the contact form and email address. remarks.

According to the Warsaw City Hall, a total of 129 people participated in online meetings on the ClickMeeting platform. By the end of the consultation, the broadcasts of the three meetings had been shown 1685, 507 and 723 times, respectively. Over 160 people took advantage of the opportunity to meet at consultation points, of which 111 people submitted written comments. 2,529 completed online forms and 418 e-mails were received.

D-54 “clean transport zone”

Relief for seniors

Dombi emphasized that the comments of seniors will be treated in a special way, for whom, for financial and organizational reasons, it will be difficult to replace the car with one that meets the SCT criteria. The city is leaning towards introducing a relief for seniors over 70 years of age. So that they can drive their old cars for life, provided that they do not sell them or re-register them to younger family members. Another group that could be covered by the relief are the inhabitants of the zone.

– We were often contacted by people who drive a car occasionally: on vacation, outside the city, and use public transport on a daily basis. We had no ready answer for these residents. But we want to solve it somehow. So that the inhabitants of the zone get some relief and get a little more time to replace the car – pointed out Tamas Dombi. In addition, special rights are also to apply to people with disabilities.

During the consultations, a group of parents, especially children of asthmatics, was singled out, who demand an improvement in air quality as soon as possible

The law binds the hands of local governments

How will the entry ban to the SCT be enforced? Not much is known at the moment. In this matter, the local government’s hands are tied, unfortunately, by the legislator. As he explains in an interview with tvnwarszawa.pl, Dr. Eng. Ewa Wolniewicz-Warska, transport expert at the Association of Polish Poviats, On January 1, 2016, the amendment to the Road Traffic Law entered into force, which took away the possibility for municipal and municipal guards to use recording devices to detect violations.

– Thus, it is not possible to automatically control the violation of the ban on entering the restricted traffic zone or the Clean Transport Zone, and these were introduced by the amendment to the Act on electromobility and alternative fuels in December 2021 – explains Wolniewicz-Warska. – Every rule is only as effective as the control of its observance. Unfortunately, the act does not include modern, available and effective control instruments – says the expert.

Ewa Wolniewicz-Warska emphasizes that in this respect the act was prepared without consulting local governments and the scientific community. What should be changed in the legislation so that the ban on entering the Clean Transport Zone for specific vehicles could be effectively enforced? – First of all, the entry deleted in 2016 should be restored to the road traffic law and the city guards, or generally local governments, should be allowed to use recording devices – assesses Wolniewicz-Warska.

It also refers to Article 39 point six of the Act on electromobility and alternative fuels. – Here, a closed catalog of needs has been introduced for which the local government can allocate funds that will come from fees for entering the Clean Transport Zone. I do not understand why the legislator narrows these needs down to financing the marking or the purchase of low-emission buses and trams. Why is it not possible to use these funds to build a system or database that would facilitate the management of the zone, the expert wonders. – In the same article, the legislator imposes the hours in which the ban is to apply. After all, cities have very different characteristics. The highest traffic volume falls on different hours in Sopot than in Warsaw. In this regard, cities must have complete freedom – points out Wolniewicz-Warska.

In turn, he calls the limit of the fee for entering the zone introduced by the regulations a misunderstanding. The seventh point of Article 39 of the Act on electromobility and alternative fuels reads: “The fee for entering the clean transport zone (…) may not be higher than: PLN 2.50 per hour in the case of a one-time fee; PLN 500 in the case of a subscription fee for one month”. – Establishing a stake limit in a legal act of the rank of a statute, especially in a situation of monetary instability, makes no sense at all – assesses our interlocutor.

The city hopes to change the law

During Monday’s presentation, Tamas Dombi was asked about the issue of enforcing entry to the zone and possible sanctions. What’s the idea for it?

– As of today, sanctions are defined in the Code of Offenses. For unauthorized entry to the Clean Transport Zone, the fine is up to PLN 500. The entrance can be controlled by the police and municipal guards. There is an amendment to the Electromobility Act in the legislative process, which could lead to much fewer stickers. Instead, we will be able to check the authorization to enter the Clean Transport Zone with cameras to a much greater extent than today. If this change goes through the entire legislative path before our resolution enters into force, we will certainly take it into account – said Dombi.

Such a change, according to the director of ZDM, would have a double benefit. – In today’s legal status, we would have to issue stickers to all authorized vehicles. According to our estimates, this would be an expense for our budget of PLN 20 million – explained Dombi.

What area will SCT cover?

As we informed during the start of the consultation, the city hall proposes that the zone should cover most of Śródmieście, parts of Wola, Ochota, and on the other side of the Vistula Saska Kępa, part of Praga Północ and Południe. What area will eventually appear in the draft resolution?

– After the completion of the analyzes regarding the determination of the new area of ​​the zone, the draft resolution on the introduction of the SCT will be submitted to the Council of Warsaw for discussion. We estimate that we need a few more weeks to finalize the boundaries of the SCT, explained Dombi.

Representatives of the Polish Smog Alert referred to the issue of SCT coverage in Warsaw. – In its proposal, the city included a zone that occupies only 7 percent of the capital’s area. This is very little, assessed Piotr Siergiej from the Polish Smog Alarm. – We are opting for the zone to be much wider. To include the area between Trasa Toruńska and Dolina Służewiecka and the Praga side to Aleja Prymasa Tysiąclecia on the west side – he said.

So far, the deadline for the implementation of SCT in Warsaw remains unchanged. The town hall indicates July 1, 2024.

Clean transport zone – proposed boundariesCity Hall of Warsaw

Suggested SCT introduction timeline

The City Hall analyzes show that the introduction of the first stage (in 2024) will concern two percent of cars, and in subsequent stages – 9, 16, 23 and 27 percent. In the first phase, the restriction of entry to the SCT would apply to non-Euro 2 petrol vehicles (older than 27 years) and non-Euro 4 diesel vehicles (over 18 years old). Later, consistently every two years, the requirements for exhaust emission standards for cars moving in the zone will be increased.

Of course, there will also be exceptions. Rescue service cars, historic vehicles, special cars, e.g. garbage trucks, and cars of disabled people will be able to move in the zone.

Clean transport zone – stages of implementationCity Hall of Warsaw

Main photo source: TVN24

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