Towards a climate neutral EU:
efficient allocation of EU funds

Improvement of ambient air quality by introducing environmentally friendly public electric transport in Pernik

Organisation: Economic Policy Institute Website: Added: September 13, 2022
Project start date: May 07, 2020
Project end date: October 07, 2022



The ambient air quality is of a particular importance when it comes to settlements, located in basin landforms with difficult air drainage. One of these areas is the territory of the Pernik valley. The city of Pernik is currently considered as a polluted city. For example, according to IQAir, just on 31st of August 2022, the PM2.5 concentration in Pernik was 5 times the WHO annual air quality guideline value, although the overall air pollution level was moderate. According to Silvia Rudarska, a representative of the civil movement Breathe Pernik, “[m]any people in the city suffer from lung diseases, and dirty air is one of the reasons for the increase in cancer.” One reason is the fact, that the city of Pernik has been lagging behind in taking measures, related to green transition. The project “Improvement of ambient air quality by introducing environmentally friendly public electric transport in Pernik” is a step forward in the long-awated green transition process of the city. It involves the purchase of 5 electric buses with charging stations and additional equipment for servicing line No 16, which is included in the control system, ticketing and information systems built under the project “Integrated urban transport of the town of Pernik”, and equipment is also provided for buses under 16. Cable routes are built to power the charging stations, devoted for the electric buses of the city. The main activities under this project are: Preparation of the project proposal, including preparation of cost-benefit analysis; Delivery of 5 new electric single buses with a length of not more than 12 000 mm ± 200 mm and additional equipment to them, including 5 charging stations for slow charging and 1 double fast charging station; Engineering (design, author’s supervision and construction) for construction of cable routes for power supply of charging stations and covered hall for stay and charging of electric buses; First registration and insurance of the new rolling stock; Supervision during construction; Organisation, management and information and communication measures of the project. Implementation of the project is expected to meet the needs of the target groups — the population of the town of Pernik — 70 888 citizens, according to data from the NSI); tourists and guests of Pernik; companies and organisations active on the territory of Pernik. It is also expected to improve air quality by reducing PM10 and NOx emissions from public transport by 0.08 t/year; create more efficient and environmentally friendly public transport with less energy consumption and opportunities for alternative forms of transport; contribute to the specific objective “Reducing ambient air pollution by lowering PM10/NOx” under Priority Axis 5 of OPE 2014-2020. The project builds on another project, namely “Integrated Urban Transport of Pernik” under OPRG 2014-2020.

Good practices and innovations

Apart from being a step forward in the green transition of Pernik, the project specifically outlines that one of the activities implemented under its realm will be related to project organisation, management, and information and communication measures. The latter will be focused on: Ensuring successful implementation of the project and achievement of project objectives; Optimising the use of project resources; Achieving effective coordination and communication with subcontractors; Ensuring transparency in project management; Ensuring good accountability and monitoring of implementation. The idea of the aforementioned activity is to ensure the achievement of the expected project results and compliance with the principles of good governance, accountability and transparency. The role of the information and communication measures is to explain the purpose of the project, its usefulness to the public and to promote the contribution of EU funds and the EU operational programme to its implementation. In this way, the project would connect in practical terms the project to the mindset of the society in Pernik, including the knowledge of how the actions of every individual person could contribute to the actual positive result of the project.

Financial data

The total project cost equals 7 184 970.00 BGN (3 067 456.77 EUR), whereas the own funding is 1 185 370.00 BGN, the total amount of actual payment is 2 283 600.00 BGN, and the total EU co-financing equals 85.00 %.


There is no information available as to what indicators will be utilised to measure the project results, including the positive impact on the ambient air quality following the successful project implementation. Currently, there are different sources of air pollution in Pernik, one of the biggest being the Republika Heat and Power Plant. According to the Regional Inspectorate for Environment and Water – Pernik, the ambient air quality in the city of Pernik is affected by emissions of road transport, industry, opencast mining and also the Pernik heating plant. According to BTV news, the second biggest national television, a large sulphur dioxide pollution was reported in 2020 in Pernik, with the main causer being the heat and power plant “Republika.” In 2019, “Dishay Pernik” Association published a civil objection, according to which “the Republika heat and power plant does not have the necessary filter system to reduce harmful emissions of gases and fine particulate matter for coal combustion, and the addition of different types of fuels for co-firing is unacceptable. The available treatment facilities at the plant cannot provide the required standards according to the European Directives, which is a consequence of malfunctioning units, improper organisation and management of flue gas outlets and insufficient efficiency of the installed facilities.” In 2022, a systematic release of fugitive emissions from the boiler shop was detected during an inspection at the Republika heat and power plant. The inspection of the Sofia eco-inspection was made after citizens' signals about air dusting in different areas of Pernik. It is therefore important to identify whether and what activities will be executed to verify the positive results specifically resulting from the implementation of the ambient air project and the introduction of electric public transport in Pernik.

Information sources

Other info

European Climate Initiative (EUKI)
This project is part of the European Climate Initiative (EUKI). EUKI is a project financing instrument by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK). The EUKI competition for project ideas is implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. It is the overarching goal of the EUKI to foster climate cooperation within the European Union (EU) in order to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.