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Warsaw to introduce emission-free zone – as 3/4 of residents give support for air pollution measures

The Polish capital has announced plans to create a “clean transport zone” next year, which would limit the number of “the most polluting vehicles” in Warsaw, the city’s press office announced on 25 January.

“Eighty-seven per cent of residents in Warsaw want local authorities to take action to reduce air pollution and 76 per cent want a clean transport zone. It is also worth emphasising that the creation of clean transport zones in cities with a population of over 100,000 is one of the milestones of the National Recovery Plan. Warsaw takes its obligations towards both residents and the law seriously, which is why we want to launch a clean transport zone in the capital in mid-2024,” said Rafał Trzaskowski, Mayor of Warsaw. “However, before that happens, we invite the inhabitants of Warsaw to discuss the clean transport zone. We want to know their opinion on the specific solutions that we propose.”

The area of ​​the clean transport zone, the date of its introduction, as well as the requirements or exceptions for selected groups of people and vehicles, will be discussed during public consultations, which began last week and will continue for the next three months.

In Poland, clean transport zones have thus far been adopted in Kraków, with a “mild zone” set to enter into force from 1 July 2024. At the end of December 2022, the authorities of Wrocław also presented their clean transport zone proposal.

The clean transport zone will come into force from July 2024 and cover most of the city centre (Śródmieście) and adjacent areas (Wola, Ochota, Saska Kępa, Grochów and Praga) according to a press release from the city’s press office. 

In the first phase of the zone, the entry restriction would apply to non-Euro 2 petrol vehicles (older than 27 years) and non-Euro 4 diesel vehicles (over 18 years old). Subsequently, every two years, the requirements for exhaust emission standards for cars moving in the zone will be increased.

Warsaw’s local authorities may also decide to enlarge the zone in the future, however, this would require prior consultation with the residents, according to the press release.

Strong support from residents

As referenced by Mr Trzaskowski, three out of four residents in Warsaw believe that the city should introduce an entry restriction zone for the most polluting vehicles, according to recent polls. Whilst support for the area of the zone varies, one out of three would only like the zone to just be in the centre of the city. As the polls also revealed, greater congestion in public transport is the residents’ main concern for the creation of a clean transport zone (59 per cent of respondents).

More broadly, the same polling showed that as much as 87 per cent of respondents agree that Warsaw’s local authorities should address the problem of air quality in the city.

As stated in the press release from Warsaw’s local authorities, support for a clean transport zone continues to grow, in comparison to a previous nationwide survey in which 66 per cent of the inhabitants of the capital respondents were in favour of introducing the zone.

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