Belgium is lagging behind when it comes to getting ‘thermal’ gasoline or diesel vehicles off the roads, according to Greenpeace, who are urging the federal government to ban the sale of such vehicles by 2028.
Stopping the sale of such vehicles is one of a raft of measures the environmental organisation has compiled for Europe’s towns and countries with a view to reducing the presence of diesel and gas vehicles on their streets. Belgium, it notes, is among countries that have not yet committed to such a ban.
The transport sector produces 22.5% of all greenhouse-gas emissions in Belgium, according to Greenpeace. Given the climate emergency, systemic changes of an unprecedented scope need to be made in the next 10 years to avoid reaching the point of no return, the organisation notes. “Transport is one of the key sectors,” it stresses.
Many countries have already announced deadlines for banning the sale of standard vehicles, starting with Norway in 2025. Such vehicles will not be on sale from 2030 in Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Ireland and Slovenia, while the ban enters into effect in 2040 in England, Spain and France (2030 in Paris).
Moreover, many cities have implemented measures such as low-emission zones, car-free zones and urban tolls.
In Belgium, two low-emission zones exist in Antwerp and Brussels and three others are soon to follow. Some pedestrian areas have also been created. However, much more needs to be done, Greenpeace says.
“The issue is not banning thermal vehicles simply to replace them with electric ones,” the NGO stressed. Restrictive policies on motorised traffic or types of cars always need to be accompanied by strong measures to strengthen active mobility and public transport, to be credible and more socially just,” it argued.
It cited as examples cities like Ghent, which, it said, does not yet have a low-emission zone, and Utrecht, which has an “unambitious version” of one, but have adopted other measures against air pollution and global warming. These include a traffic plan in Ghent and “very ambitious cycle policies” in Utrecht, Greenpeace noted.