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Regulatory Proposal to the Environmental Protection Act,

1999 Low Emission Zones


Proposed by: Matthew Antaya, Herald Azcueta, Aaron Crasto

November 29, 2016

Proposal for Low Emission Zones under EPA

November 29, 2016

Table of Contents
1.0 Introduction .............................................................................................................................. 1
1.1 European Implementation .................................................................................................... 1
2.0 Description of Regulation ........................................................................................................ 2
3.0 The Proposal in Relation to Existing Regulations ............................................................... 5
3.1 Environmental Protection Act, 1990 ..................................................................................... 5
3.2 Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 ..................................................................... 6
3.3 Bill 172 - Climate Change Mitigation and Low-carbon Economy Act, 2016 ......................... 6
3.4 Other Regulation(s) under EPA ............................................................................................. 7
4.0 Purpose of Regulation .............................................................................................................. 7
5.0 Discussion ................................................................................................................................. 9
6.0 References .............................................................................................................................. 11

Proposal for Low Emission Zones under EPA

November 29, 2016

1.0 Introduction
Traffic-related air pollution in dense urban areas can be potentially harmful to the environment
endangering human and ecological health. In addition to the many initiatives established in
Canada and Ontario to curb air emissions, it is being proposed that Ontario implements a new
regulation under the Environmental Protection Act (EPA) for Low Emission Zones (LEZs). LEZs
also known as an Environmental Zone, is a defined area where access by certain class of
vehicles, are restricted with the goal of improving local air quality (1, 2).

1.1 European Implementation


LEZs were first implemented as a drastic measure to reduce particulate matter (e.g. PM 10) and
Nitrous oxides in European cities under European air quality standards. These standards were
set in response to approximately 420, 000 attributable deaths per year in Europe.

(6)

If a

municipality were to exceed these standards (Ex. exceedances of PM 10 of 50g/m3 in 35 days),


then a city is required to develop air quality plans. Municipalities implemented several
alternatives for reduction of air pollution that included: expanding public transportation,
utilising ring roads, improving traffic flow and LEZs. The former three alternatives showed no
significant improvement on air quality, while LEZ implementation showed modest reductions in
PM10 and Nitrous Oxides.(3) Additionally, Indirect effects of LEZs observed a turnover in vehicle
fleet composition of cleaner vehicles (e.g. Hybrid gas-electric vehicles).(4)

Several examples in Europe have shown how LEZs have implemented change in vehicle
composition. Germany implemented a system that utilizes coloured stickers (i.e. Red, yellow,
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Proposal for Low Emission Zones under EPA

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green), which are based on exhaust emission standards, representing progressively cleaner
emitting vehicles (Table 1). (1, 5) Dirtier vehicles (e.g. Diesel-fuelled trucks) can circumvent this by
retrofitting particulate filters that would allow them to qualify for a cleaner sticker designation.
(5)

Overtime Germany tightened regulations as to what vehicles could enter LEZs. In 2008, they

allowed red, yellow and green stickers. In 2012, they allowed only yellow and green stickers and
then by 2013 most LEZs permitted only green sticker vehicles. (3) Figure 1, illustrates the mass
use of LEZs throughout Germany and the sticker requirements for entry. With the feasibility
and relative success in air pollutant reduction in Europe, the idea is thus being proposed for
implementation in Ontario. (6)

Figure 1. Map of Germany illustrating allocation of


LEZs and sticker requirements. (6)

Table 1. Sticker designation of classes of vehicles for


LEZs in Germany. (5)

2.0 Description of Regulation


The proposed regulation would put requirements on qualified municipalities to set up
designated areas that would restrict the use of certain class of vehicles. Qualifications that will
require implementation of LEZ(s) will be based on two criteria: population density and potential
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exceedances of some air quality standards. Population density, will be considered as this will
indicate the amount of traffic in key parts of a city (ex. downtown areas), and the amount of
human or ecological receptors that are present. With respect to implementing an air quality
standard, it is suggested that this regulation adopts the Canadian Ambient Air Quality Standard
(CAAQS). (7) These standards would be binding within the regulation and would aid in better
discrimination of qualified municipalities. So if a municipality were to exceed such standards or
authorities deemed a city to have compromised air quality, then the Director can issue an order
to a municipality to create an LEZ.

With respect to enforcement, it is recommended that Ontario adopt a similar sticker system as
was done in Germany. These stickers can be issued to vehicle owners upon inspection with
Drive Clean Ontario. Methods for ensuring compliance can be done through patrols, red light
camera technologies, and tollway sensors as is implemented in Ontarios highway 407.(8)

Once a municipality qualifies under the aforementioned criteria, the authority to execute, and
enforce the LEZ is solely the responsibility of the municipality. The content of this regulation
however, will prescribe a framework on how this implementation will be carried out. The
general requirements prescribed and the process to which the municipality will be subjected to
is outlined in figure 2. With respect to the execution of a phase out schedule as noted in Phase
2 (figure 2), it is important the municipality will take into consideration consumer response time
to change to the implemented LEZ. As well, creating a subsequent Environmental Assessment
will identify socioeconomic impacts from the implementation.

Proposal for Low Emission Zones under EPA

November 29, 2016

Figure 2. If municipality is required under the regulation to implement LEZ, they must undergo the following
general process.

Prescribed Provincial Process as Required by Propose


Regulation
Phase 1 Creation of an LEZ Plan
Plan must contain the following:
-Proposed delineated LEZ.
-Prescribed vehicles and phase out
schedule.
-Method of enforcement

Phase 2 Municipal Environmental


Assessment Undertaking
Plan must undergo an EA process to
identify and address impacts of the
LEZ.

Phase 3 Plan to Bylaw


Any adjustments/amendments to the plan,
and subsequently approved by municipal
authorities into a bylaw.

Proposal for Low Emission Zones under EPA

November 29, 2016

3.0 The Proposal in Relation to Existing Regulations


3.1 Environmental Protection Act, 1990
Exhaustive reviews of the EPA and its regulations have concluded that there are currently no
pre-existing regulations with regards to LEZs. Additionally, there are grounds within the
sections outlined below that allows for the implementation of a LEZ regulation where it can be
in accordance with existing regulations.
Section 176
Under this section in the act, the Lieutenant Governor has power to pass regulation that:

Prescribes maximum permissible amounts of contaminants and govern the discharge of


these contaminants for any mechanisms, i.e. motorized vehicles. (Section 176.(1)(e))

make regulation that has the ability to prescribe methods or standards to determine
contaminant levels (Section 176.(1)(f))

to govern the rate of production, and in this context, the rate of emissions being
discharged into the natural environment (Section 176.(1)(h))

Establish programs for the purpose of maintaining or improving environmental


standards and protection (Section 176.1(1)), and

to prescribe the standards of emission into the natural environment of any contaminant
or any by-product or product of combustion with any motor vehicle and to have
standards that are in relation to multiple parameters (Section 176 (2))

Proposal for Low Emission Zones under EPA

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Based on these clauses found in s.176, enforcing an LEZ regulation that will place restrictions
and programs on motorized vehicles emissions within Ontario is plausible and permissible
within the EPA.

3.2 Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999


Under CEPA, Environment Canada has the authority to regulate emissions from on-road engines
as well as from most categories of off-road engines, these regulations are On-Road Vehicle and
Engine Emission Regulations (SOR/2003-2) and the Off-Road Compression-Ignition Engine
Emission Regulations (SOR/2005-32) that are in line with the US EPA federal standards. This
federal act already has emissions standards in place for all vehicles in Canada. The purpose of
the LEZ proposal is to take this a step further by addressing urban centers and their problematic
vehicular emissions.

3.3 Bill 172 - Climate Change Mitigation and Low-carbon Economy Act, 2016
The purpose of this bill is recognizing the environmental and economic challenge that climate
change brings and to create a regulatory scheme to reduce greenhouse gas, protect the
environment and to help the province transition into a low-carbon economy. This bill
recognizes greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide and stipulates emissions
reduction targets. It also has a focus on transportation in which hybrid cars, active, and public
transport are some of its main initiatives. Under these circumstances, our regulation proposal
will work alongside this bill in harmony, complementing its initiatives.

Proposal for Low Emission Zones under EPA

November 29, 2016

As reviewed above, a LEZ regulation is possible under the sections outlined within the EPA.
There is no pre-existing regulation that is similar to the goals and purposes of our LEZ proposal
and the Lieutenant Governor has the authority to enforce such a law through the EPA.
Additionally, there are no discrepancies found under CEPA that would hinder the success of this
proposal in a federal level and its implementation can also work alongside Bill 172 and its goals.

3.4 Other Regulation(s) under EPA


O. Reg. 361/98 Motor Vehicles
A possible amendment within this regulation can be done where in addition to all the tests
conducted by a Drive Clean inspector, light and heavy vehicles must be tested to be eligible to
drive within LEZs which can be based on various standardized parameters.

4.0 Purpose of Regulation


The goal of LEZs in restricting certain vehicles from entering into designated areas is to
significantly reduce concentrations of air pollution from traffic-related air pollution (TRAP).
TRAP has been attributed to a multitude of long-term illnesses, such as respiratory diseases and
heart issues (Table 2).

(9)

In 2014, harmful Nitrous oxides and various other volatile organic

compounds (VOCs) from vehicular sources were reported to be 71 and 28 percent


respectively.(6) Furthermore, increases in GHGs (i.e. nitrogen and carbon dioxide) have
contributed to various effects implicated by climate change. Approximately 70 percent of
Ontarios GHG emissions are accounted by passenger and commercial vehicles.

(10)

Table 2,

outlines the environmental and health impacts of specific analytes that are emitted from
various traffic sources.

Proposal for Low Emission Zones under EPA

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Table 2. Traffic-related air pollutants, effect, transportation contribution and overall reduction success in Ontario thus far. (7)

Air
Pollutant

Effect on Environmental and/or Human Health

O3

-Formed by reaction of NOx and VOCs with sunlight.


-Persistence in stratosphere provides protection from ultraviolet
rays.
-Major component of smog formation
-Irritates respiratory tract and eyes.
-Can affect children with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary
disease.
-Causes losses in Agricultural crops in Ontario.
-Includes aerosols, smoke, fumes, dust, etc.
-Components: nitrates, sulphates, organic matter and particlebound water).
-Can be formed by fuel combustion.
-Forms in the atmosphere as gaseous nitric acid nitrates.
-Reacts from air to also form PM2.5.
-Irritate lungs and lower resistance to respiratory infection.
-Nitric acid, when deposited can acidify lakes and soil, and damage
tree and crops.

PM2.5

NOx

SO2

CO

Proportion of Pollution from


Transportation

Based on emissions from NOx


& VOCs.

21 percent of particulate
matter is by transportation
sector.

34% of emissions are by road


vehicles and 37% by other
transportation.

-Can oxidize in the atmosphere to form sulphuric acid aerosols.


-SO2 is a precursor to sulphates, a main components of airborne
secondary PM2.5
-Damages trees and crops.
-Acid rain causing acidification of soils, lakes and streams.

Only 3% of emissions are a


result of transportation
sector and other sources

-Produced by incomplete combustion of fossil fuels.


-Poisonous gas at high concentrations, through reduction of oxygen
delivery to organs and tissues

70% CO emissions is by the


transportation sector.

Decrease provincial
emissions (2005 2014)

N/A

31%

42% NO2

49%

40%

Proposal for Low Emission Zones under EPA

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There is a particular risk with Ontarians that live in densely populated areas (e.g. Golden horse
region), where 28 percent of Ontarians are living within 100m of major road and/or 500m
away from highways. (9) Whats more, facilities that are frequented by sensitive receptors that
reside near major roads and highways, namely, elementary schools and long-term care homes,
are 26 and 48 percent respectively.(9) As such, many Ontarians run the risk of being exposed to
high levels of TRAP. Ontario has put forth several solutions to curb emissions (i.e. NO x, CO and
SO2) through implementation of various initiatives, such as: phase-out of coal-fired generation
stations, emission trading regulations, Drive Clean emissions testing, and lower sulphur
concentration in fuels. This has led to significant decreases in harmful emissions (Table 2). (7)

Recently, Ontario released their five-year action plan under the Climate Change Mitigation and
Low-carbon Economy Act. With respect to the noted issues, the plan promotes ownership of
zero-emission vehicles (i.e. hydrogen and electric), and plans to decrease GHG emissions by 5
percent by 2020.(10) The proposed regulation would indirectly facilitate this new Act through
reduction of GHGs in dense areas as well as incentivizing greener vehicles. By slowly restricting
certain use of vehicles in these areas and offering rebates on less-fuel efficient vehicles, this will
drastically turnover vehicle fleets. (3) Thus, reducing emissions harmful to human health and the
environment.

5.0 Discussion
With the restrictive nature of this regulation, it is expected that there will be various
socioeconomic concerns from consumers and local businesses. With respect to the consumer,
the regulation could affect a commuter's lifestyle if a person regularly frequents LEZs. In
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essence, the regulation is forcing a change in behaviour with respect to vehicle choice. With a
reasonable phase-out period upon implementation, and provincial rebates on high emission
vehicles, the financial burden of switching to a cleaner vehicle could be significantly reduced. (10)

The other issue that is implicated by this proposal is the potential for a reduction of customers
to a local business established within a LEZ. It is expected that some people who have noncompliant vehicles will avoid LEZs and as such, can negatively impact sales of that business.
Additionally, some businesses within those LEZs will also be required to ensure compliance of
their vehicles. To mitigate or eliminate these issues, the required undertaking of an
Environmental Assessment will be done to optimize an LEZ so it does not dramatically affect the
original socioeconomics of the municipality.

Overall, the issues concerning LEZs are inconveniences on the public to change vehicle choice.
The health and environmental benefits associated with carrying out this regulation outweigh
the minimal socioeconomic impacts. Monetary gains between health benefits to consumer
vehicle transition from European enactment was crudely estimated to have a ratio of 2 to 1. (3)
As such, With Canadas population steadily increasing in densely populated cities, it is prudent
that absolute care is taken to protect the quality of Ontarios air.

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6.0 References
1. Togel M., Spicka L. 2014. Low Emission Zones in European Countries. Transaction on Transport
Sciences 7: 97-109.
2. European Commission. 2016. Low Emission Zones. Web: http://urbanaccessregulations.eu/lowemission-zones-main/what-are-low-emission-zones. Accessed: November 15, 2016.
3. Wolff H. 2013. Keep Your Clunker in The Suburb: Low-Emission Zones and Adoption of Greener
Vehicles. The Economic Journal. 124: 481-513.
4. National Center for Biotechnology. 2006. Air and Water Pollution: Burden and Strategies for Control.
Web: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK11769/. November 19, 2016.
5. Senate Department for Urban Development and the Environment. Berlins Environmental Zone:
Information for Foreign Tourists. Web:
http://www.stadtentwicklung.berlin.de/umwelt/luftqualitaet/umweltzone/download/touristeni
nfo_en.pdf. Accessed: November 22, 2016.
6. Motorhomes Europe. 2012. Environmental Zones in Germany - Low Emission Zones in Europe. Web:
https://motorhomeseurope.com/688/environmental-zones-in-germany-low-emission-zones-ineurope/. Accessed: November 22, 2016
7. Ontario. 2014. Air Quality in Ontario 2014 Report. Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change.
8. 407 Express Toll Route. 2015. FAQ. Web: https://www.407etr.com/en/help/general/faqhighway/faq5.html. Accessed: November 18, 2016.
9. Public Health Ontario. 2014. Traffic-Related Air Pollution: Avoiding the Trap Zone. Web:
https://www.publichealthontario.ca/en/DataAndAnalytics/OntarioHealthProfile/Pages/OHPIWR-TRAP.aspx. Accessed: November 2, 2016.
10. Ontario. 2016. Ontarios Five Year Climate Change Action Plan 2016 -2020.

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