The Slovak Republic belongs to the EU member states facing air quality problems with negative impacts on public health and the environment. Despite some improvements in recent years, the situation remains unsatisfactory.
The air quality is negatively affected by exceeding concentrations of particulate matter PM10 and PM2,5, nitrogen oxides, benzo(a)pyrene and ground level ozone. The main sources of air pollution are households burning solid fuels for heating, the transport and the industry.
In relation to the exceeding of the limit values/targets for the protection of human health, Slovakia is facing proceedings for breach of the requirements of the Ambient Air Quality Directive since 2009. In February 18, 2021 the European Commission has decided to refer Slovakia to the European Court of Justice over poor air quality due to high levels of particulate matter (PM10). The LIFE-IP SK Air Quality Improvement project is one of the measures taken to improve air quality in Slovakia and is a direct response to the European Commission's challenge.
The LIFE-IP SK Air Quality Improvement project (full title: Enhancing the implementation of Air Quality Management Plans in Slovakia by strengthening capacities and competencies of regional and local authorities and promoting air quality measures) aims at implementation of specific air quality improvement measures while also supporting educational, communication and monitoring partner activities in the field of air quality and air protection and effective management through the creation of a national network of Air Quality Managers.
The total budget of the project is EUR 15 000 000, with the EU contribution of EUR 9 000 000. The project, divided into four phases, will last eight years (2020-2027).
Ministry of Environment of the Slovak Republic
Slovak Environment Agency
Banská Bystrica Region
Slovak Hydrometeorological Institute
PEDAL Consulting s.r.o.
Technical University of Ostrava
The main objective of the project is to support effective air quality management in order to improve the air quality and reduce the exposure of population to harmful impacts of air pollutants.
Specific project objectives are:
- Enhancing effective air quality management and implementation of Air Quality Management Plans
- Promoting air quality measures and raising awareness of the importance of air quality
- Accelerating the implementation of measures to minimize negative impacts of household heating and transport on the air quality
- Supporting the exchange of heat sources (boilers) in households
- Improving air quality monitoring and reporting on at regional and local level
Decision-makers and opinion leaders
Expert community and business representatives
In order to achieve the project objectives, the following activities will be implemented by the project partners:
- Establishment of Air Quality Managers and Air Quality Coordination Unit
This task will build capacities of regional and local authorities to strengthen air quality planning and management of authorities at regional and local level. Air Quality Managers will operate in 7 self-governing regions and in selected towns and municipalities, where air quality needs to be improved. The Air Quality Coordination Unit established at the Ministry of Environment of the Slovak Republic will methodically manage the work of Air Quality Managers.
- Awareness-raising campaigns and educational programmes promoting air quality measures and raising awareness of the importance of air quality
The activity will aim at preparation and execution of educational programmes and information activities, which shall raise awareness about air pollution issues, its causes and impacts among local authorities and the public, while at the same time they shall promote air quality initiatives, engage the public and provide information on the available support instruments. The information activities will reach a wide audience through communication campaigns and project web platforms. Educational programmes will be primarily intended for representatives of local authorities, teachers, students and pupils.
- Demonstration projects aimed at household heating
Within this activity, a complex approach in implementing various air quality measures will be demonstrated in selected municipalities, including educational activities (proper combustion techniques, environmental impact), subsidy measures (replacement of old boilers, use of renewable resources) and monitoring of the progress of the air quality improvement. Subsequently, the effectiveness of these measures will be assessed, and the results will be used in designing regional and local policies, as well as legislation to improve the effectiveness of air quality measures.
- Pilot projects aimed at the development of feasibility study on transport solutions for the air quality improvement in selected cities
The key objective of this activity is to provide incentives to selected cities in Air Quality Management Areas, where the main air quality problems are caused by traffic, to ensure development of feasibility studies on transport solutions to improve air quality, such as smart traffic management, establishment of low emission zones, implementation of a parking policy or a congestion charge, etc. The results of these studies should be incorporated into the Sustainable Mobility Plans.
- Local data collection, evaluation of emission inventories and air quality modelling
The main objective of this activity will be the creation of a detailed residential heating database, which is necessary for efficient targeting of measures, as well as the evaluation of their impacts in future using air quality modelling. Air quality modelling will be performed at regional and local level, as an analytical part of the Air Quality Management Plans, including the assessment of impact of various measures on the air quality improvement.