Sofia's New Low-Emission Zone: What Drivers Need to Know

Society | November 30, 2023, Thursday // 10:00|  views

Photo: Stella Ivanova

Sofia is set to implement a Low-Emission Zone (LEZ) from December 1, 2023, to February 29, 2024, within the city's central ring. The LEZ aims to tackle air quality issues, mandated by a court decision and the previous municipal council.

Mayor Vasil Terziev emphasized compliance with the court's directive but pledged a comprehensive analysis of the zone's impact for future decisions. He acknowledged the lack of clear communication about the LEZ's introduction, leading to potential confusion among drivers using older vehicles in the city center.

To ease the transition, drivers entering the LEZ with older vehicles will receive warnings for initial offenses instead of immediate penalties, citing insufficient prior public outreach.

The LEZ restricts access to vehicles classified within the I eco-group: gasoline cars registered before January 1, 1996, and diesel cars registered before January 1, 2002. Exceptions include residents within the zone and individuals with disabilities, marked by special parking stickers issued by the Center for Urban Mobility.

Before December 1, road signs will delineate the LEZ's boundaries, providing detours for banned vehicles until February 2024. The move follows a global trend, with over 300 cities worldwide implementing similar low-emission zones to combat air pollution and encourage alternative transportation.

The LEZ's goal is to reduce fine dust emissions, promote public transit, alleviate traffic congestion, and enhance urban living conditions. The Municipality plans to inform citizens about the LEZ's impact after February 2024.

As Sofia joins the ranks of cities employing such zones, this initiative aims to transform transportation habits and enhance environmental sustainability within its urban core.

More on the zone's borders and which streets are covered read here.

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Tags: sofia, Low-Emission Zone, restrictions, air, cars


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