In a bid to improve Swedish urban air quality by tackling traffic emissions, the Minister for Infrastructure Tomas Eneroth and Minister for the Environment Karolina Skog have recently presented how the new provisions on low emission zones would be designed. The Government will give municipalities the possibility of introducing three different kinds of low emission zones as of January 1, 2020.
We’re seeing the introduction of low emission zones throughout Europe. It is important that we make the air cleaner and the urban environment better in our cities. At the same time, people and businesses need to know what the rules are and have time to adapt to green technology, said Minister for Infrastructure Tomas Eneroth at a press briefing on March 23.
Air pollution has been linked to various respiratory and cardiovascular diseases and premature death as well as having an adverse effect on children’s health. The absolutely dominant source of nitrogen oxides (NOx) in the urban environment is road traffic. Municipalities are therefore being given a powerful tool with which to tackle urban air pollution by being able to decide whether and where low emission zones should be applied.
Children’s right to breathe clean air takes priority over the right to drive all kinds of cars on every single street. We are now giving the municipalities the powerful tool they have long been requesting so that they can tackle hazardous air pollution, said Minister for the Environment Karolina Skog.
The Government will give municipalities the possibility of introducing three different kinds of low emission zones as of January 1, 2020:
The first type of low emission zone regulates heavy-duty vehicles. Municipalities can already implement low emission zones for certain heavy vehicles such as trucks and buses. Low emission zones already exist in eight municipalities.
The second type of low emission zone sets standards for cars.
- Initially, diesel cars that meet the emission standards Euro 5 and Euro 6 may drive here. But on 1 July 2022, the standards will be made stricter, allowing only Euro 6 diesel cars to drive here. The same applies to hybrid electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids with diesel engines.
- Cars with petrol engines will have access if they meet the emission standard Euro 5, or better. This also applies to hybrid electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids, natural gas vehicles (NGV’s) and E85 (FFV) vehicles.
- Cars with higher environmental performance, such as electric cars and fuel cell vehicles, may also drive here.
The third type of low emission zone sets the highest standard. This zone only allows purely electric cars, fuel cell cars and gas cars that meet the emission standard Euro 6. High standards are also set for heavy vehicles. This zone only allows electric vehicles, fuel cell vehicles, plug-in hybrids and gas vehicles that meet the emission standard Euro 6.
Taking account of the need to notify the European Commission – the Government will adopt the necessary legislative amendments in the Road Traffic Ordinance making it possible for municipalities to introduce the new low emission zones. The Government will also instruct the Swedish Transport Agency to draw up proposals for how the municipalities can ensure compliance with the low emission zone provisions and other traffic rules.