Albania to ban import of vehicles older than 10 years

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times September 24, 2018 17:56

Albania to ban import of vehicles older than 10 years

Story Highlights

  • Albania has been gradually applying EU norms on car emissions since late 2016 in a decision that has seen a high number of car owners install new catalytic converters to meet emission standards in order to pass their annual compulsory technical control tests

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TIRANA, Sept. 24 – Albania is planning a ban on imports of all vehicles older than 10 years and not meeting the Euro 5 emission standards that have been implemented in the EU since late 2009.

The draft decision scheduled to become effective starting January 2019 is aimed at reducing pollution from car emissions, one of the main contributors to high levels of air pollution in the country with negative effects on both humans and the environment. The initiative also targets gradually making the country’s vehicle fleet younger, currently at 20 years old, twice higher compared to EU’s average car age.

While not affecting cars already in use, the draft decision affects dozens of thousands second-hand cars that have already been cleared through customs but have not been equipped with number plates and paid taxes, waiting to be sold in the used car market that accounts for the overwhelming 95 percent of sales in the country. Some 60,000 such cars have been given a 5-month deadline to be equipped with number plates.

However, the decision allows the import of vehicles produced until 1970 for museum, collection or humanitarian purposes. An exception is also made for smaller goods and passenger vehicles with a maximum mass of 3.5 to 5 metric tons which must not be older than 15 years before registering in Albania.

Introducing the legal initiative on Sept. 22, the World Car Free Day, Environment Minister Blendi Klosi said Albania was joining regional EU aspirant countries in banning the import of vehicles older than ten years.

Albania has been gradually applying EU norms on car emissions since late 2016 in a decision that has seen a high number of car owners install new catalytic converters to meet emission standards in order to pass their annual compulsory technical control tests.

Only 3.3 percent of vehicles circulating in the country, some 14,000, are estimated to meet Euro 5 and 6 emission standards applied in the EU since late 2009 and 2014 respectively, in a situation that significantly contributes to air pollution in the country.

Air pollution figures in Albania remain among the highest in Europe, according to a 2016 report on air quality by the European Environment Agency.

About 2,120 people died in 2016 in Albania due to air pollution, of whom 2,010 were victims of high concentrations of fine particles in the air, 10 of nitrogen dioxide concentration and 100 of the ozone concentration, according to the report.

Local authorities say that among Albanian cities, Tirana features the worst air quality with traffic, construction and high-density living all contributing to low-quality air. The southeastern city of Korça, the coldest large city in Albania, also has a spike in winter air-pollution due to using coal and wood for heat, says Albania’s National Environment Agency.

Albania had some 535,570 vehicles in 2017 but only 421,570 underwent the compulsory technical control, according to the country’s Institute of Transportation.

The Balkan country has one of Europe’s highest death tolls from road accidents with an estimated 15 fatalities per 100,000 inhabitants. About 2,000 road accidents took place last year, with a death toll of 222, the lowest level for the past six years when data is available.

Experts blame the high number of accidents on reckless driving, poor road infrastructure and lack of road signs.

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times September 24, 2018 17:56