Cities and municipalities in Serbia have until February 16 to propose measures to reduce air pollution. The government set aside EUR 3.4 million to cofund the replacement and upgrades of heating systems, help lower the impact of individual sources of pollution and to help plant trees.
The Ministry of Environmental Protection of Serbia called on cities and municipalities to submit projects in three public calls aimed at the reduction of air pollution. The program is worth EUR 3.4 million, of which half is earmarked for support to reconstruct or replace heating boilers and the rest is equally divided into funds for reducing pollution from individual sources and for forestation. The deadline for the proposals to increase air quality is February 16.
“The fight for clean air is one of the most important ones in the ministry that I lead and we are determined to stimulate local authorities to react as swiftly as possible and solve the problem… We act on several fronts at the same time,” Minister Irena Vujović said.
Of note, Serbian authorities announced in December that the government would finance the conversion of the units run by public heating utility in the city of Kragujevac from coal to gas. At the time, Vujović promised that boilers using solid fuels in kindergartens, schools, health centers and households throughout the country would be replaced with those that use cleaner sources.
Municipalities, cities may get up to four fifths of expenses covered in air quality projects
In the three said schemes, the ministry will cover a maximum of 80% of eligible expenses and the beneficiaries need to cover the remainder. The ranking will be published within 60 days after the application deadline, the statement reads.
The Ministry of Environmental Protection has vowed to help the switch of heating systems to cleaner energy sources
In the assessment of the proposals for the procurement, replacement, reconstruction and rehabilitation of heating boilers and individual heating systems, the most important criteriums are the significance for the environment, the level of impact and the risk for the environment, according to the ministry.
It added it would take into account how fast the air quality improvement projects can be implemented and the level of sustainability of their results. The applicants need to provide information on the licenses, approvals and consent for the endeavors.
Potential beneficiaries’ development level to be taken into account
In the segment for the reforestation and afforestation of public and protected spaces and areas that suffered deterioration in the segment, the relevant commission will analyze the general effect on the environment and rank the level of development of the municipal authority that applied for the funds, the documentation reveals.
The funds are envisaged to be spent by the end of the year.