The Flemish public transport authority De Lijn this year incurred 101 fines worth a total of €35,350 for breaches of the rules of the Brussels low-emissions zone (LEZ). And the coming year is likely to be more expensive still.
The information was given by Flemish mobility minister Lydia Peeters in a parliamentary answer to Groen member Stijn Bex. De Lijn was fined for running buses into the Brussels region which conform only to the standard of Euro 2. Since the beginning of the year, vehicles of that type have been banned from the Brussels LEZ.
De Lijn was fined 101 times, but the total bill could have been much higher. According to the rules of the LEZ, only one fine may handed down every three months, meaning an annual maximum for each offending bus of four. Had the limit been removed, the cost of running polluting buses might have been very much more.
According to Peeters, De Lijn will order replacements for its Euro 2 buses in the course of 2020, after which there will still be 450 Euro 3 buses running in Flanders. “In order to keep as many buses as possible out of the LEZ, a replacement plan will be introduced,” she said. That is likely to leave about ten euro 3 vehicles still operating in Brussels – a potential of 40 fines totalling €14,000.
Bex, a member of the Flemish parliament, was not satisfied with the speed of the government’s response, given that the Brussels LEZ is already two years old.
“Minister Peeters and the Flemish government need to provide enough resources to be able to carry out the planned investments more quickly,” he said. In all, the Flemish government plans to purchase 970 new buses, but not in time to avoid another round of fines.