Sofia bans old cars from entry into the city centre

23:42, 29.11.2023
Sofia bans old cars from entry into the city centre
Image: BGNES/archive

Polluting old cars will be banned from the centre of Bulgaria’s capital Sofia from December 1, 2023 to February 29, 2024, The most polluting cars of the first emission class fall into the restriction. The goal is to reduce pollution levels in the center of Sofia.

Orlin Stoimenov is one of the thousands who will not be able to drive into the centre of Sofia in the coming months:

"In my opinion, it's still a violation of people's wishes, people's opportunities to visit necessary sites in this area."

The low-emission zone is between "Slivnitsa", "Vasil Levski", "Skobelev" and "Patriarch Evtimiy" boulevards and "Opalchenska" street.

Orlin Stoimenov: "I have a family member with reduced mobility, it will be difficult for me to visit, if I wish, of course, to cultural events, even to hospitals, if necessary. I have to find a solution, a way to use alternative transport, which means a service from friends, relatives or a taxi."

The ban applies to cars from the first ecogroup. These are petrol cars registered before January 1, 1996, and diesel cars registered before January 1, 2002. The ban will not apply to cars owned by people with address registration in the area covered by the ban, as well as to people with special needs and disabilities. In order to be excluded from the ban, they are required to register their cars with the centre for urban mobility. Video cameras will scan the eco-stickers of the cars entering the area of the ban and drivers who do not respect it will be fined. The fine will be from BGN 50 to BGN 500.

"This area is already equipped with cameras that will detect the number plate of the car that enters it, as well as the eco-sticker. The eco-sticker is the sticker that each of us who drive and own a car receives at the annual technical inspection," said Elitsa Panayotova, coordinator of the "Green Sofia" project.

"There are challenges that the software that is responsible for analyzing the number plates of the cars that are in violation has not yet gone through the procedures and a complaint has been filed in relation to that. There are many things that need to be cleared," said Vasil Terziev, Mayor of Sofia.

A grace period is therefore being considered. Despite the problems, the introduction of the ban cannot be delayed, as the decision must be voted on by the municipal council, which in Sofia is still not functioning as there is no elected chairperson.

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