Drivers of older, more polluting diesel vehicles will be required to pay a charge to drive in the centre of the Belgian capital Brussels, under efforts to tackle air pollution in the city.
But, the measure, introduced on January 1 with a nine month phase in period, only initially applies to Euro I diesel cars and vans – those built prior to 1992 – with a gradual rollout to Euro V vehicles by 2025.
Petrol vehicles will not be included in the scope of the scheme until 2019, with a gradual limit introduced up to Euro II petrol vehicles – manufactured before 1997 – coming into force in 2025.
Drivers of vehicles restricted under the scheme will be able to pay €35 per-day for up to eight days-per year to gain access to the LEZ.
Commenting on the introduction of the measure, Brussels’ Environment Minister Céline Fremault, said: “The main objective of this measure is to improve the quality of the air and life of Brussels residents. We wanted a measure that is spread over time to allow all motorists to gradually adapt their behavior.
“Between 2018 and 2025, the low emission zone will be one of our best tools for combating pollution in Brussels, but it will also be a great way to raise awareness of air quality on a daily basis impact on health.â€?
As part of efforts to roll out the LEZ project, more than 50 Automated Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras have been installed across the city, with a further 175 planned to be rolled out across the next six months.
Automatic fines of up to €350 will be issued to drivers of vehicles failing to comply with the regulation.
Bianca Debaets, Brussels Secretary of State for Road Safety and Digital Transition, said: “Instead of opting for the thumbnail system, which is applicable in some European cities, we decided to use smart cameras to control the LEZ. Thus, the Brussels Region once again demonstrates its ‘Smart City’ dimension.
“Eventually, anyone who enters our Region with a car that does not meet the standards will automatically be fined at home. With more than 175 cameras, our coverage will be such that no one can escape. In addition to the LEZ, smart cameras can also be used for many other applications: speed checks, mobility analysis, vehicle tracking or detection.â€?
Brussels follows in the footsteps of cities in France, such as Paris, Grenoble and Lyon, which have introduced the Crit’Air vehicle emissions restriction scheme in a bid to tackle air pollution.
In Paris, the scheme sees drivers place a sticker with one of six different categories on their car to denote the level of tailpipe emissions. Those travelling at the wrong time or failing to display an emissions sticker face a fine (see airqualitynews.com story).
Brussels Low Emission Zone