Kraków has announced plans to establish a 'clean transport zone' in a move to reduce air pollution. The city will be the first in Poland to implement such a measure.
The need to reduce air pollution in Kraków is pressing. For example, the city topped a global air pollution ranking that was published by Airly in autumn 2022. Kraków’s Mayor, Jacek Majchrowski, proposed the new 'clean transport zone'. which was approved by the city's council in late November 2022.
The clean transport zone will be implemented in mid 2024. Petrol cars that have been on the road for more than 31 years and diesel cars older than 27 years will be banned from the entire city. Two years later, the rules will be tightened to cover petrol cars older than 25 years and diesel cars older than 15 years. The zone will be enforced by the municipal police. Drivers that do not comply with the rules of the clean transport zone will be fined. Exemptions will be given to cars belonging to drivers that are at least 70 years old, as well as to older emergency service vehicles and to vintage cars.
While most people welcome the move to improve air quality in Kraków, critics state that the city is limiting the freedom of residents and also argue that poorer people might not be able to afford newer cars. Deputy Mayor Andrzej Kulig acknowledges that introducing bans on older cars is a difficult endeavour. However, he argues that the clean transport zone is needed in the face of the latest data on the city's air pollution, which will be adversely affecting the health of the city's residents, and also that residents will have time to prepare for the implementation of the clean transport zone, given that its implementation has been announced 18 months in advance. The municipality estimates that nitrogen oxide emissions will be halved thanks to the zone compared to 2019 levels.
Article published first at Notes from Poland on 24 November 2022.
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