03/01/2016
Truck in Haifa Photo: Eran Greenwald
National Plan to Reduce Air Pollution in Haifa Bay Gets Underway
Truck in Haifa
Photo: Eran Greenwald
The first stage of a plan to clean up the air in Haifa Bay has begun. As of January 1, 2016, Carmel Tunnel fares are now heavily discounted for light trucks – up to 12 tons. This will give them incentive to use the tunnels; thus fewer trucks will take main roads. On January 5, 2016, a low emission zone will be created in Haifa Bay. Heavy trucks will not be allowed on Haifa’s main arteries during rush hour. As a result of these actions, residents will be much less exposed to air pollution from transportation.

New Rules for Trucks in Haifa Bay

​The new rules for trucks are part of the NIS 330 million, 5-year  National Plan to Reduce Air Pollution and Environmental Risks in Haifa Bay. The plan, approved in September, is expected to significantly reduce vehicular and industrial air pollution in Haifa Bay by 2020.

Low-Emission Zone
As part of the plan, Israel’s first ever low-emission zone (LEZ) is being created. (LEZs already exist throughout Europe.) As of January 5th, heavy trucks will be restricted from driving on many of Haifa’s main arteries during rush hour. Signs will be put to notify them about the restriction.

In accordance with the new rules, between 6:30-9:30 and 15:00-18:00, trucks will not be allowed on the following streets: Ha’atzmaut, Jaffa, Nathanson, Shivat Zion, Hamaginim, Allenby, Hagefen, Hazionut, Rothschile, and Pel-Yam.

During the next stage, diesel trucks will be prohibited from entering certain areas.

Carmel Fare Discount for Light Trucks
At the same time, trucks up to 12 tons can now register, free of charge, to receive reduced fares for the Carmel Tunnel. Instead of a monthly fare of NIS 86.20, drivers who register will now pay NIS 51.70 per month.

This first stage of the program has been put in place thanks to cooperation between the Ministries of Environmental Protection (MoEP), Finance, and Transportation, as well as the Haifa Municipality, the Haifa Association of Towns for the Environment, the Movilim Council, and the Haifa Port.

Monitoring the Results

The aforementioned actions will mean the Haifa Bay population will be much less exposed to air pollution from transportation over the next few years.

​The MoEP will monitor the air quality in downtown Haifa, the area known as the "Underground City," to determine if and how much the air quality improves over the next few years.

Environmental Protection Minister Avi Gabbay: "Where there is a clear plan, energy, effort, and cooperation – we see results. We will continue to innovate and to work so that Haifa residents can enjoy clean air."

Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon: "We have reached an arrangement aimed at preserving the environmental quality for residents of Haifa and Haifa Bay. I’m pleased that cooperation between government ministries and the Haifa municipality have brought about good news for citizens. Haifa Bay residents deserve to breathe clean air. We are working together with the MoEP on a multi-year plan that will bring about a significant reduction in air pollution."

Haifa Mayor Yona Yahav: "I thank all sources that were involved in this important process. First, I give thanks to Minister Avi Gabbay and his people, to government ministries, and of course, to the [involved] councils. This is only the first stage in preventing traffic and the parking of trucks in Haifa, and a new step in turning Haifa more green."