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600,000 Belgian cars to be affected by Brussels low emissions zone extension

08:53 01/07/2024

An estimated 600,000 vehicles in Belgium will be affected by the forthcoming extension of Brussels' low emissions zone (LEZ), according to data from automotive federation Febiac, including more than 30,000 registered in Brussels.

These are cars that will no longer be in compliance with LEZ standards (Euro 5 diesel and Euro 2 petrol) from 1 January 2025.

Given the high number of non-compliant vehicles, multimodality association Touring has raised concerns about the timetable and its rapidly approaching deadline.

“In no way will the owners of these vehicles still have the chance to switch to a younger and cleaner vehicle in time,” Touring said.

“The economic shock that our world has been through is more than sufficient reason to at least seriously assess whether the tightening of LEZ restrictions comes at the right time, whether it is feasible and whether it balances the ecological gains on the one hand and the economic costs on the other.”

Those ecological gains have already borne fruit. Since its 2018 implementation in Brussels, the LEZ reduced “NO2 concentrations along the capital's main roads by up to 30%” according to monitoring reports.

The same monitoring also found that between June 2018 and September 2022 – the date of implementation of the latest restriction on the Euro 4 standard – the proportion of diesel vehicles on the road has almost been halved, and the proportion of cars running on diesel without a particulate filter (Euro 4) has fallen from 14% of traffic to less than 3%.

In the Brussels region in particular, emissions of air pollutants have fallen by 67% for nitrogen oxides (NOx) and 75% for fine particles (PM2.5) since 1990, reflecting the impact of emission reduction measures such as low-emission zones, among others.

“Low-emission zones have a positive effect on air quality, it’s true – especially during their initial introduction when the oldest and most polluting cars were banned, for example diesel cars without particulate filters,” Touring added.

“On the other hand, the current presence of the vehicles now targeted by the planned tightening has not prevented the air quality in Brussels from being better today than it has ever been since the industrialisation of our world.

"This remarkable and rapid positive evolution will in any case continue through, among other things, the natural replacement of older vehicles, the rise of electric driving, better insulation of buildings and the gradual abandonment of oil and gas for heating.

"Specifically for road traffic, limiting mileage and combating traffic jams and stop-and-go traffic can also further contribute to cleaner air. So an LEZ is by no means the only way to further make traffic cleaner."

Touring is calling for politicians to consider that the benefits of further restrictions “become less significant, while the economic cost for car users increases disproportionately”.

The organisation is asking the Brussels government to not include the tightening of LEZ rules in its policy plan and conduct a “serious re-evaluation”.

Written by Helen Lyons



Interesting: more or less 570,000 coming from outside Brussels and pollute air in Brussels.

Jul 1, 2024 09:09

Touring pretends to support also cyclists. Don't recognise it in their communication.

Jul 1, 2024 09:11