Ghent collects nearly €420,000 in exemptions to allow polluting cars into Low Emission Zone
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    Ghent collects nearly €420,000 in exemptions to allow polluting cars into Low Emission Zone

    The LEZ will apply to the zone within the city ring road, banning all polluting cars. Credit: Belga

    Exemptions granted to polluting vehicles banned from Ghent’s low emissions zone have already yielded €420,000 ahead of the zone’s implementation in 2020.

    The low emission zone will apply to the zone within the city’s inner ring road, banning all polluting cars. However, drivers of polluting vehicles can buy a temporary permit, which will allow them to enter the zone after all.

    Exemptions can be applied for on a day-to-day basis, or for longer periods of time. Anyone with a polluting car wanting to enter Ghent can buy up to eight day-passes per year. Drivers with a less polluting vehicle can still buy a temporary year pass to enter the city. Priority vehicles or vehicles belonging to people with disabilities will receive an exemption free of charge.

    “There are a lot of questions from people who want to buy a permit at the last minute,” said Louis De Geest, the city’s Mobility coach to VRT. “Many people are wondering whether they can still enter with their car or whether they can drive to a certain location,” he added.

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    During the start-up phase, almost 3,000 people living in Ghent applied for a paying exception to the low emission zone, which has amounted to about €420,000 for the city, reports De Morgen.

    These paying exceptions also exist in Antwerp and Brussels, where the LEZs have been in place for some time. For Antwerp, about 24,000 exceptions applied for in 2018 yielded €2.6 million. According to the city council, that money is invested integrally into the maintenance of the low emission zone, to install new cameras or organise communication campaigns, for example.

    The low emission zones are based on the European emission standards, which define the acceptable limits for exhaust emissions of new vehicles.

    In Ghent, cars running on petrol, LPG or CNG must have at least Euro emission standard 2. Cars with Euro standard 1 are no longer allowed inside the ring road of the inner city. Diesel cars with Euro standard 4 are still allowed to enter, but will have to pay. Starting from Euro standard 5, all cars are allowed inside.

    In 2025, stricter rules will be implemented for all types of cars.

    Maïthé Chini
    The Brussels Times