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The city authorities of Warsaw have been consulting with residents and experts on the details of setting up a Low Emission Zone (LEZ), the first of its kind in the city. Warsaw will be the second city in Poland with an LEZ after Krakow in southern Poland, where it will come into power from 2024.

HEAL in Poland together with partners Clean Cities Campaign and Parents for Climate has been active to highlight the need for establishing a Low Emission Zone for better public health for the residents, as part of an overall transition to a healthy city. Transport pollution has been one of the key points of the #KidsFirst campaign, led by Parents for Future Poland with support from HEAL and Smoglab. 

Earlier this year, HEAL shared concerns about the health impacts of road transport with the mayor of Warsaw, Rafał Trzaskowski, during an exchange organised by Clean Cities Coalition. In addition, we also organised a webinar on low emission zones and health, including high level speakers – Prof. Michał Krzyżanowski from Imperial College London, and Simon Birkett, founder of Clean Air in London initiative, to share the latest evidence on the health impacts of transport pollution, as well as good practices and examples leading to better air quality in urban environments because of LEZs. We also actively encouraged our health network to participate in the public consultation (which closed on 25 April).

The introduction of a Low Emission Zone is an important step for cleaner air in Warsaw. HEAL considers that the zone should be established as of summer 2024, and should be large and restrictive enough to prevent the most polluting vehicles from entering it. We see the introduction of an LEZ as part of a greater scheme for a healthy city, which includes and prioritises active mobility (walking and cycling), low emission public transport, and greening urban environments. This will bring significant health benefits from cleaner air and increased physical activity, as well as improved mental health, and will also reduce Warsaw’s carbon footprint.

HEAL’s engagement on Warsaw is part of our larger initiative for healthy mobility across Poland, as part of the Clean Cities Campaign, based on the body of evidence which clearly demonstrates the health harm from transport pollution, and the risk especially for children, the elderly and pregnant women. In the past two years, we organised a series of webinars to raise awareness about transport pollution health impacts, launched a publication on transport emissions and children’s health and two briefings for decision makers. 

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