Фото: Бојан Блажевски

In late 2018, the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia promised it will introduce environmental stickers for categorization of the pollution the vehicles cause, with a set deadline for implementation in 2019 and 2020. The promise written in the Program for Reducing Air Pollution of the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia to this day is unfulfilled.

The executive government on the 15th of November 2018 presented the plan and the program for reducing air pollution in North Macedonia, whose implementation should have become a strategic priority of the government in 2019. The Program for Reducing Air Pollution, on page 4, says that it will be implemented in 2019 and 2020 in all segments.

The introduction of environmental stickers for vehicles is promised on page 6 of the program, as one of the measures in the transport sector to be implemented by the central government to reduce air pollution.

Jani Makraduli, former Deputy Minister of Environment and Physical Planning, on the 10th of November 2018, announced that the planned amendments to the Law on Vehicles will introduce eco-stickers for all vehicles registered in the country, as one of the measures for mitigation of the air pollution throughout the municipalities.

This promise was repeated by the current Minister of Economy, Kreshnik Bekteshi, who at the press conference held on the 31st of July 2019, said that with the latest amendments to the Law on Vehicles that were adopted by the Parliament of the Republic of North Macedonia the previous day, a Rulebook for categorization of vehicles will be penned, which will rule the matter.

Despite the fact that the Program for Reducing Air Pollution states that all the measures will be implemented in all the segments, Minister Bekteshi said on the 31st of July 2019 that the amended law stipulates that the environmental stickers for vehicles will be optional, i.e. not an obligation.

The idea about these environmental labels was to show the pollution category of the vehicle, and in periods of high air pollution that will be declared in certain municipalities in the country, drivers would be allowed to enter the municipality only if they have a green sticker on their vehicle.

“The first eco-category covers the vehicles with Euro 5 exhaust emissions level or higher, as well as the vehicles with Euro 4 and Euro 3 exhaust emissions levels, which have a liquefied petroleum gas or compressed natural gas conversion, the hybrid and the electric vehicles, as well as the vehicles with built-in equipment that reduce the emission of gases in the air and reach the standards of EURO 4, 5 or higher. The second eco category covers the vehicles with Euro 4 and Euro 3 exhaust emissions levels, and the third environmental category covers the vehicles with Euro 2 and lower5 exhaust emissions levels, as well as the vehicles who were not labeled by the manufacturer,“ Bekteshi said on the 31st of July 2019.

More than 16 months after the promise was given, on the 20th of November 2020, Meta.mk wrote that the Ministry of Economy confirmed that the red, yellow, and green stickers that were supposed to eco-categorize the vehicles, were not in use up to the date.

Meta.mk in September this year emailed questions to the Ministry of Economy and the Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning with a request for information on when the introduction of the categorization of the vehicles and the implementation of the eco-stickers for vehicles will begin.

The Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning answered that the Law on Vehicles and the preparation of the regulations are in the domain of the Ministry of Economy.

“Regarding the control, in accordance with the Law on Vehicles, after the adoption of the regulations and issuing of the environmental stickers by the technical services, the Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning will monitor the implementation of the law on vehicles in the area of environmental stickers through environmental inspectors who submit a request to the decision-making Commission for an offense that operates within the Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning.”, the ministry replied.

The Ministry of Economy said for Meta.mk that at the moment it was working on a further harmonization of the regulation (the rulebook).

“The Ministry of Economy prepared a rulebook that prescribes the procedure for determining the environmental category of the vehicles, the form, content, and method of placing the environmental sticker, as well as the costs for determining the environmental category of the vehicle and printing of the environmental sticker, and submitted it for review to the Secretariat of Legislation. At the moment, according to the remarks of the Secretariat of Legislation, work is being done on the legal, technical and editorial improvement of the text of the rulebook“ says the Ministry of Economy.

It clarified that the implementation of the environmental categorization of vehicles should begin after the publication of the rulebook that prescribes the aforesaid procedures.

According to the Law on Vehicles, owners of vehicles should go to the technical homologation centers, and not in the vehicle technical inspection centers. After determining the environmental category, the technical homologation center will issue the appropriate sticker to the owner, explained the Ministry of Economy.

Regarding the cost of the eco-categorization of the vehicle by the authorized technical service, the price should not exceed MKD 600 (slightly less than €10 ), with Value Added Tax included, the Ministry of Economy informs, referring to the draft rulebook.

Meta.mk analyzed the Law on Vehicles, which in Article 33 states that the environmental labels are issued by the technical centers authorized by the Ministry of Economy to perform the categorization of the vehicles. The categorization expenses are covered by the owners of the vehicles.

Article 68 states that the environmental categorization of the vehicles, referred to in Article 5-B and determined in Article 2 of this law, shall commence after the expiration of the period of 12 months from the date of entry into force of the regulation specified in Article 3 of this law, and which refers to Article 11, paragraph 1, indent 20 of the law on vehicles. Article 11 refers to the regulations signed by the Minister of Economy, and one of these regulations is the one that should determine the environmental categories of vehicles (paragraph 1, indent 20).

Article 68, paragraph 2, states that the vehicles of the second ecological category with emission of exhaust gases Euro 4 within a period of three years from the entry into force of this law shall be marked with an ecological sticker of the first ecological category.

Otherwise, this law determines that the procedure for marking the ecological category of the vehicle begins with the submission of a request with the accompanying documentation for determining the environmental category of the vehicle, in accordance with the measurement results of the exhaust emissions of the vehicle.

The Ministry of Economy explains that the traffic restrictions for high-emission vehicles should be carried out by the Ministry of Interior, i.e. traffic police officers in the field.

“Pending, the municipal authorities should determine the zones and define which vehicles, i.e.what environmental sticker-labeled vehicles will be able to move in each zone and set appropriate traffic signs, which traffic police will be able to act on”, the ministry said.

The environmental stickers for categorization of vehicles have not been introduced; Photo: Meta.MK, 28 September 2022

Meta.MK on September 28, 2022 made a tour of the parking lots in the center of Skopje, where we didn’t find an environmental sticker for categorization of the vehicles on any of the parked vehicles in the public parking lots. Taking into account the fact that the Program for Reducing Air Pollution states that all above measures will be implemented in 2019 and 2020 in all segments, we can conclude that the promise to introduce environmental categorization stickers to this day is unfulfilled.

Sources:

Program for Reducing Air Pollution of the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia, checked on: 26.09.2022;
Law on Vehicles (editorial revision), viewed 28.09.2022;
– Meta.mk (2.11.2020): The air pollution season has arrived, environmental stickers on vehicles not in use, viewed 28.09.2022;
– Website of the Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning (10.11.2018): The new law on vehicles introduces enevironmental stickers and subsidies for electric and hybrid vehicles, viewed 28.09.2022;
– Website of the Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning (15.11.2018): Makraduli: Clean Air Plan is a strategic priority of the Government of the Republic of Macedonia for joint action and a healthy future, viewed 28.09.2022;
– Website of the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia (31.07.2019): Bekteshi: The new law introduces eco-stickers, subsidies for the installation of gas devices in vehicles and replacement of the old with new vehicles, viewed 28.09.2022;