The General Assembly of Budapest approved the modification of smog regulation; as a result, much more vehicles can be banned during smog alert from the middle of March, announced Mayor István Tarlós. He added that the previous vignette system was terminated and now vehicles are ranked into environmental categories based on codes, Budapest’s press release said.
The most polluting categories are 0, 1 and 3, including 7-8% of the vehicles so far. Now this circle has been extended with categories 2 and 4, thus one-third of the cars can be banned during stage of alert.
The modification of the regulation was brought about not only due to direct health-related reasons, but also to the fact that Budapest – first in Central and Eastern Europe – joined an international climate initiative, which was endorsed by 12 regions based on the idea of California and Baden-Württemberg. The aim is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80% below 1990 levels by 2050 and to limit global warming below 2 degrees Celsius. The endorsement does not entail any financial obligations, but commitments. Modification of the smog regulation has been one of the facilitators. In 2005, CO2 emission was 6 tons per capita per year in Budapest, which decreased to 5 tons per capita by 2013. The aim is to achieve 2 tons CO2-equivalent per capita by 2050.