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Implementing low emission zones in Romania

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Peer Review - Romania

On 21-22 November 2023, the Policy Learning Platform held an online peer review for the Romanian Ministry of Development, Public Works and Administration, which requested advice regarding their policy challenge on establishing low emission zones in the country. 

Last 30 May 2023, Law 155/2023 on sustainable urban mobility entered into force in Romania, setting the general framework for the promotion and management of sustainable urban mobility at national level. As part of the measures to increase the attractiveness of active mobility and public transport, the establishment of low-emission zones (LEZs) is foreseen, and 13 cities with highest air pollution are due to install LEZs by 2025.

A Romanian government decision to regulate the establishment and operation of LEZs within municipalities is being drafted, and the Ministry wanted to receive know-how and input on the following policy challenges: 

 

The main policy challenges
  • Define the national and local legal frameworks for LEZs
  • Define size, boundaries, time restrictions and development pathways of LEZs
  • Define categories of vehicles that fall under the scope of the LEZ
  • Vehicle identification, controls, charges and fines
  • Support measures for vulnerable population
  • Impact monitoring and reporting
  • Public consultation and communication of measures.
Peers from across Europe

Alongside Katharina Krell and Magda Michaliková, our Thematic Experts on ‘Greener Europe’, six excellent peers participated in the peer review:

Given the legislative context, this is an opportunity to design an ambitious, coherent and effective new scheme, based on a combination of the best practices from existing LEZs from across Europe. The recommendations of the peer review aim at helping Romania design one of the best-in-class, nationally harmonised LEZ schemes in Europe.

Recommendations

  • National level should
    • Set national legal frame and targets, mandate measures
    • Ensure harmonised approach in the country (vehicle standards, road signs, communication, data collection and sharing)
    • Provide a set of uniform guidelines with space for individual design by each municipality
    • Provide resources for coordination and shared services, offer financial support
    • National Environment Agency could become the national point for monitoring air quality impacts of LEZs, pooling information and reporting on LEZ
  • Municipal level would use national guidelines and decide on detailed implementation of ambition, size, boundaries, area, entry points, exemptions and special rules
  • LEZ should be integrated into SUMPs and be linked with other SUMP measures

 

  • Pragmatic and demonstrative start with inner city in most cities
  • Sizing according to ease of access control
  • Take into account environmental data
  • Have a dynamic approach to vehicle restrictions (to become stricter over time), focus on removing diesel vehicle
  • Implement additional measures: electrifications of public fleets, support of e-mobility, adequate parking, development of cycling paths, etc.
  • Vehicle identification can be done by cameras reading number plates or via the use of stickers
  • Have regular monitoring of air quality to measure the effectiveness of a low emission zone
  • Potential to use the Environment Agencies at the county level to pool information on all LEZs
  • LEZ are potentially causing public resistance and must be carefully designed, communicated and introduced
  • Strong political commitment and leadership of Mayors is essential
  • Agreements with stakeholders
  • Citizen engagement through public debates
  • Media and information campaigns
  • Polls to understand public opinion
  • Multi-level approach to communication – national one-stop-shop + local information

Peer review report

Explore the recommendations in the follow-up report below. 

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Thank you, we’re very satisfied with this input. I appreciate very much this targeted approach, the mix between theoretical examples and practical examples. I was impressed with the short time production of such good recommendation with so rich content. It’s great to have so rich group of peers, also with expert from nearby countries. I would like to thank the Policy Learning Platform team and all the peers for their work. We hope this is a beginning of a future cooperation. 

Liviu Băilesteanu

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Romania
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Peer Review Online - Romania
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We thank you for all your support and look forward to continuing good cooperation. It was an experience from which we had a lot to learn. Thank you for sharing your best practices and know-how with us!

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Peer review publication

Find more information on the methodology and experiences of previous beneficiaries in our publication.

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Apply for a peer review

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Sustainable mobility
Low-carbon
Mobility