Dirty diesels heading East

With drivers ditching their diesel cars in view of an increasing number of city bans and low-emissions zones in Western Europe, many of these dirty cars now end up in Central & Eastern EU Member States. This means the air quality problems will be exported, not solved, thus deepening the East-West divide that already exists on air quality in Europe.

Bulgaria is case in point, as it risks being swamped with the grossly polluting diesels, as Western drivers elsewhere turn away from the polluting cars. As the country holds the Presidency of the EU, it has declared tackling air pollution as a priority for its term. On 10th April ministers are gathering in Sofia to debate measures to improve the quality of air Europeans are breathing.

Ahead of this meeting, the Brussels-based green campaign group Transport & Environment has calculated for the first time the exact numbers of the dirty diesels that are being imported into Bulgaria and the toxic pollution they bring. The new data shows that over 35,000 dirty diesels were exported to Bulgaria in 2017 alone, emitting more than 12 times the allowed limits. More information, read our briefing.