The Environment Agency of Iceland has introduced a new plan for air quality in the capital region which would advise local authorities to introduce new fees for studded winter tires, reports Fréttablaðið.
According to air quality expert at the Environment Agency, Þorsteinn Jóhannsson, there now exists the political will to push through these new regulations, which would aim to both improve air quality by lessening the particulate matter in the air, and also lessen wear on the capital’s roads.
Some, according to Þorsteinn, have stated that this would amount to a further tax burden on Iceland’s already-struggling rural communities. Because of the conditions during winter, it is practically a requirement for Iceland’s rural population to use studded tires. Þorsteinn, however, has clarified that the fee would apply principally to the capital region, and that visitors with studded tires to the capital would pay a daily fee. In this way, it would function much like a parking fee.
According to Þorsteinn, investigations show that studded tires cause 20 to 40 times as much wear to roads as non-studded. Þorsteinn also notes that although the legal season for winter tires is from November 1 to April 14, there are already many studded tires on the road in Reykjavík.
Alexandra Briem, chairperson of the city council, has also stated her support for such a fee, noting that additional methods to reduce air pollution and wear on roads are needed.
More information on car ownership and regulations can be found at the Icelandic Automobile Association.