From March 1st 2019, leaving your engine running when you have stopped your car will be an environmental offence in Wallonia. The traffic regulations in the Highway Code already prohibit doing so “except in cases of necessity”. The use of that wording is very much open to interpretation.
Such unsociable behaviour is now written into new Walloon regulations on atmospheric pollution caused by cars, spearheaded by the Walloon Minister for the Environment and Ecological Transition, Carlo Di Antonio of the cdH (Centre Démocrate Humaniste).
The measure is to become an environmental offence from March 1st 2019, with offenders receiving an on-the-spot fine of €130. Car users should be sure to turn off their engine when not in traffic, for example when waiting for their children outside school.
Besides the police, both regional and communal sanctioning officials whose remit is environmental offences will have authority to issue tickets for such behaviour.
In Belgium, air pollution causes 9,300 deaths each year, as well as a multitude of illnesses and respiratory and cardiovascular conditions.