there will be new tolls – What is happening in Kaunas

From next year, residents are waiting changes. Municipalities in cities are obliged to establish low-pollution zones, the purpose of which is to reduce the use of polluting cars. Ministry of Transport and Communications claims that restrictions will mainly affect the oldest cars, and some municipalities are already saying that new tolls will be introduced for those entering.

Changes – from 2023

The Law on Alternative Fuels provides that Lithuanian municipalities until 2023 must establish and, as needed, periodically update low-pollution zones in cities.

This means that by the New Year, all cities will have to assess the most polluted areas and adapt them to transport with lower emissions.

As explained by the Ministry of Transport, the decisions on the application of the zone type, whether the toll system will work in them, whether the entrance will not be charged, each municipality will be adopted separately, but their main goal will remain the reduction of the use of polluting cars in cities.

“Regardless of the type of zone chosen, changes in cities should primarily affect the oldest cars by year of manufacture, such as cars manufactured before 2000, the EURO 1 ecological standard. According to the data of the Ministry of Transport, the implementation of low pollution zones has already started in Vilnius, Kaunas and Klaipėda”, said representatives of the ministry.

At the moment, the Ministry of Transport said that it is preparing recommendations for municipalities, which should help implement and foresee the measures of the low pollution zone.

“Since municipalities are very different – they differ both in terms of population and traffic flows, low pollution zones must be adapted individually.

In some municipalities, the entire city territory can become a low-pollution zone, and in some – only certain sections.

The Ministry expects municipalities cooperation in order to achieve similar applied measures and set goals, so that it would be easier for the traveling population to adapt in each city, and the climate change reduction goals would be pursued jointly throughout Lithuania”, – stated the answers received.

The Ministry plans to present the prepared guidelines to municipalities and the public by 2022. October 15

Traffic / Associative / R. Tenios photo.

Plans include restrictions and fees

Vilnius Rimantas Baravykas, head of the Traffic Management Department of the city municipality, confirmed to “Delfi” that the municipality plans to provide low pollution zones by the end of this year.

As he said, specialists are currently examining the situation and making suggestions.

“One of the most likely areas falling into the low pollution zone is the area of ​​the old town of Vilnius. What the exact restrictions will be is currently being discussed, good and bad global practices are being examined, specialists from different world-class companies are being consulted regarding their technical capabilities and available experience,” said the specialist.

Head of the Transport and Traffic Management Department of Kaunas City Municipality Martynas Matusevičius word has it that more changes are expected in this city from the New Year.

“The low emission zone was chosen as a means of developing a sustainable mobility strategy. This is aimed at encouraging residents to use alternative means of travel, at least in the central part of Kaunas. It is in this zone that the restriction of polluting car traffic is planned,” he said.

According to M. Matusevičius, it is planned to install smart cameras at the entrances, which would record vehicles, that is, scan license plates and assess whether they meet the requirements of the required emission.

“If non-compliance is detected, a toll would be applied without distinguishing the vehicle by category, and in the future, as the number of environmentally friendly means of transport increases, the possibility of banning polluting vehicles from entering the central city area in general is being considered,” he said.

The representative mentioned that this project will be divided into two phases.

“The first, which includes traffic restrictions only in the Old Town, is planned to be implemented from 2023, and the second, in the entire central part of the city, until 2030.” The zone of low emissions is planned to be included in the protected area, and the amount of the toll will be approved by a separate decision,” he said.

The head of the Klaipėda City Municipal Council and Mayor’s Secretariat. Specialist Silvija Mockuvienė testified that Klaipeda the new order coming into force is still under consideration.

“Regarding specific zones and their boundaries, no decisions have been made yet, preparations are being made for changes, available noise and air pollution modeling maps are being reviewed. Regarding the establishment of low pollution zones, a consultation with the Ministry of Transport is still planned, which is preparing recommendations on this issue,” she said.

Traffic / Associative / R. Tenios photo.

There are hundreds of low pollution zones in Europe

According to the Ministry of Transport, Lithuania, far from being the only one soon to introduce low-pollution zones. There are currently more than 370 low-pollution zones in Europe, it has been claimed, committed to fully complying with the European Union’s air quality indicators.

“The highest prevalence of low pollution zones is observed in Western Europe (United Kingdom, GermanyFrance), in Scandinavia (Sweden, Norway, Denmark) and Southern Europe (Italy, Spain, Portugal), the smallest in Eastern Europe.

Brussels, London, and Stockholm are considered exemplary cities for complex decision-making.

Brussels city has become one large low-pollution zone, which can be entered by those who have at least the EURO 5 standard (for diesel engines – ed.) or EURO 2 and higher (for gasoline engines – ed.) cars. In London, all cars currently have to comply with the EURO 3 standard, and there are provisions for those who do not comply with the rules fines“, the specialists of the ministry said.

Another example is Krakow in Poland. Here, as stated, the zero-emission zone was introduced in 2019, it is possible only with hydrogen, electricity and gas-powered vehicles moving. Insurances in the zone are valid during certain hours during the peak traffic.

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