LEZ System Approved Minus a Color

LEZ System Approved Minus a ColorLEZ System Approved Minus a Color

The bill to implement the Low Emission Zone (LEZ) scheme has been ratified in the Supreme Council for Coordination of Cities’ Traffic after one color code, blue, was eliminated.

“Although the bill has been passed, the Traffic Police databank needs to establish an information system to enable classification of vehicles in the city,” said Mehdi Yadi Hamedani, director general of the council, reports ISNA.

The LEZ system aims to reduce emissions of vehicles by categorizing them according to the emission standards. It has been adopted in European countries including Germany, Denmark, Sweden and England.

Based on the revised plan, vehicles will be categorized under three colors, red (for cars lacking technical inspection stickers), yellow (for those with emission standards below Euro V that include most vehicles in the country), and green (for hybrid or electronic cars with an emission standard above Euro V).

To be color-coded, vehicles will be examined using three parameters: technology and quality of production, age, and technical inspection, said Col. Morad Moradi, technical deputy of Tehran Traffic Police.

The red code vehicles will not be allowed to enter the LEZ districts on all working days during the week from 6 am till 7 pm. The yellow code vehicles will be bound by the same rule on high-pollution days.

The new system will replace the existing odd or even traffic plan currently in force.


Although approved, the system seems to be facing numerous challenges in Tehran.

“Lack of coherence in technical inspections, extension of intervals between inspections from two to five years, and inadequate access to databanks of technical inspection centers by traffic police, are among the impediments,” Moradi said.

Further, substandard gasoline in the country defeats the purpose of a low emission zone. The availability of fuel that meets Euro IV and Euro V standards is another problem.

In addition, no infrastructural facilities are easily available to recharge hybrid or electronic cars.

Moradi urged urban officials to implement the scheme in phases starting with public transportation.

“Currently, there are 2,000 dilapidated buses and 13,000 taxis plying the capital; in other words 30% of the buses and 20% of the taxis are in bad condition and will be phased out once the plan comes into effect.”

The LEZ system is also likely to put pressure on the middle and lower social classes, given the economic situation.

“In theory, the system is a good solution to address air pollution in megacities, but the obstacles must be removed before it can be put in place.”

Respiratory diseases and cancers in Tehran are increasing at a significant rate, partly because of air pollution. Air pollution from vehicle emissions is exacerbated as more cars are added annually. The World Bank estimates losses inflicted on Iran’s economy as a result of deaths caused by air pollution at $640 million.