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Brussels-City loses appeal on car-free Bois de la Cambre

19:18 17/09/2021

An appeals court has ruled in favour of Uccle in a dispute between the municipality and Brussels-City regarding closing the roads around Bois de la Cambre. Brussels-City had already been told that its unilateral decision was unlawful, and now an appeals court has  upheld that ruling.

The Bois de la Cambre park borders the Sonian Forest but is in the territory of Brussels-City, whose border snakes along Avenue Louise and takes in all of the park. During the coronavirus lockdown last spring, the avenues cutting through Bois de la Cambre were closed to traffic to allow citizens more space for recreation.

Brussels-City wanted to keep the situation as it was all summer, but opened up part of the northern end to motorists in capitulation to demands from the neighbouring municipality of Uccle. That municipality was the most affected by shutting down the avenues to commuters.

At the end of the summer, Brussels-City announced that it would keep the avenues – about 80% of the roads in the park – closed as part of a pilot project for a car-free Bois de la Cambre. Uccle took it to court and won, with the court calling Brussels-City’s move “tainted with illegality”.

Brussels-City appealed the decision but has now lost that appeal. “The decision has been made,” Uccle mayor Boris Dilliès (MR) told L’Echo. “The southern loop can never again be closed to traffic. The verdict confirmed that Brussels needed to consider the consequences for its neighbouring municipalities.”

The avenues running through the park are cut into two loops, known as the northern and southern loops. The southern loop is, in any case, always closed at weekends.

Dilliès is now looking at other restrictions to traffic in the park, which he called “chaotic”, saying that there are far too many tailbacks, particularly during the morning commute. He is not ruling out additional legal steps, he said.

For its part, Brussels-City has retained an advice bureau to study the mobility situation in the park and said there would be a committee made up of representatives from every municipality concerned as well as from the region.

Photo courtesy Google


Written by Lisa Bradshaw


Frank Lee

The City of Brussels has crazy boundaries, which allows it to make decisions that can impact the lives of inhabitants in pretty much all the other communes. Time to make the Region in charge of traffic?

Sep 19, 2021 16:00

Agree with Frank Lee. The Brussels politicians have too much freedom to do as they please to suit their own political agenda. Put Brussels roads and traffic under the control of independent, competent authorities and out of the hands of clueless politicians.

Sep 20, 2021 15:42

One of the problems with public transport in Bx is once past 1800hrs it declines in frequency a great deal. People might be more inclined to used public transport if it was regular and plentiful outside of rush hour times. In turn this would reduce car use which would in turn make life easier for buses etc. Won't happen.

Sep 24, 2021 18:21

When it comes to public transportation in Bx, things get a lot less busy after 1800 hours. People might be more likely to use public transportation if it was available outside of rush hour cookie clicker times. Cars wouldn't be used as much, which would make it easier for buses and other public transportation. That won't happen!

Jan 15, 2022 17:32