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Brussels Low Emission Zone triggers growing number of fines

15:05 23/12/2022

Some 18,640 fines were handed out to drivers failing to respect conditions of the Brussels Low Emission Zone (LEZ) regulations in 2022, according to Brussels Environment. The number is higher than last year despite an extended warning period, reports Belga.

LEZ regulations were further tightened from 1 January 2022, banning Euro 4 diesel vehicles in the Brussels region. It decided, however, to extend the warning period until 30 June due to the pandemic and the war in Ukraine which slowed down the delivery of new cars.

In total, 63,243 notices were sent in the first half of 2022. Since 1 July, some 19,000 drivers were fined for not respecting LEZ regulations. Most cases involved Euro 4 diesel vehicles, which represent 1% of cars driven in the capital.

Brussels Environment also pointed out that the number of higher-polluting cars is decreasing. Surprisingly though, the number of fines being issued is increasing. A total of 18,640 fines were delivered this year, compared to 12,321 in 2020 and 16,642 in 2021. Motorists can only be sanctioned once per quarter, but since the LEZ was implemented in 2018, 300 drivers have at least been fined five times. Almost half of the tickets issued this year have been paid.

There are exemptions to the sanctions. Brussels Environment received 4,000 applications for an exemption, of which 2,500 were accepted. Classic and vintage vehicles that possess an O on their numberplates are automatically exempt.

The next LEZ tightening phase is expected to happen on 1 January 2025. In this case, Euro 5 diesel vehicles and Euro 2 petrol vehicles will be banned from circulation in Brussels.

Photo: (c) Laurie Dieffembacq

Written by Louis Kernoa-Pascoe