Brussels Low Emission Zone (LEZ) will be expanded to include the banning of Euro4 diesel vehicles in order to reduce air pollution starting from 1 January 2022.
This means that cars, vans, buses and minibuses approved under Euro 4 standards, which dictate what is acceptable in terms of vehicle emissions, will no longer be able to circulate within the LEZ, which covers the 19 Brussels municipalities.
“Air pollution causes 9,380 premature deaths per year in Belgium. The LEZ will now enter a new phase: from 2022 onwards, no diesel vehicles with Euronorm 4 can circulate in Brussels,” Brussels Environment, which will launch a campaign to raise awareness of this change, said on Twitter.
— Bruxelles Environnement – Leefmilieu Brussel (@BruxellesEnv) May 17, 2021
The organisation emphasised that this is “an important step”, as Euro 4 is the last generation of vehicles that do not have to be fitted with a particle filter, meaning they pollute more than the others.
Following 1 January next year, there will be a transition period of three months until 1 April 2022 for people to adapt to the new ruling, after which drivers who fail to comply will be fined €350.
In 2019, it was estimated that there were roughly 750,000 Euro 4 diesel cars still registered in Belgium.
The LEZ, which was first instated in 2018, has resulted in annual concentrations of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) decreasing by 10% on average at all measuring stations in the Region between 2018 and 2019, according to Brussels Environment.
Brussels has the eighth highest count of nitrogen dioxide-related premature deaths among a thousand European cities, according to a recent study by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), which found that nearly 530 premature deaths could be avoided each year in Brussels if NO2 levels were similar to those in the cleanest European cities.
The organisation’s campaign focuses on the link between air quality and health, but also on walking, cycling, cargo bikes, public transport, and car-sharing as alternatives to a private car for getting around in Brussels.