The Brussels Government confirmed on Thursday that a low-emission zone covering the entire capital territory will enter into effect on the 1st of January 2018, effectively banning the most polluting diesel vehicles from the area. Ninety smart cameras will be installed throughout the capital by the end of this year and a vast weeks-long information and awareness campaign will be launched by next week.
Targeted by sanctions proceedings at the European Union for exceeding many anti-pollution standards, Brussels could not afford to wait, the region’s premier said at the end of the government meeting as he presented the communication campaign, flanked by the holders of the Environment, Mobility, Road Safety, Economy and Health portfolios.
The first restrictions will be gradually strengthened up to 2025. According to Environment Minister Céline Fremault, they will be enforced from January next with the establishment of the Low Emission Zone (LEZ). The zone is a flagship measure of the Brussels Region’s Air Climate Energy Plan, which proposes 64 measures and 144 actions aimed at reducing emissions by 30% by 2025.
The first vehicles to be banned from circulating in Brussels will be diesel vehicles covered by the Euro 0 and Euro 1 standards. Gas-powered vehicles falling under these categories will be banned from 2019, along with diesel-powered vehicles in the Euro2 category.
The 90 smart cameras to be installed by yearend to monitor compliance with the new measures will be followed by another 50 in 2018. According to the Secretary of State for Road Safety, Bianca Debaets, the cameras can also be used for other purposes, such as monitoring speeds and calculating traffic flows. The region has earmarked five million euros for their installation.
Non-compliance with the LEZ carries an administrative fine of 350 euros. However, the establishment of the low-emission zone will go together with a nine-month transitional period in which fines will not be imposed. The offending motorists will receive a booking and a warning. After that, people who are fined will have a three-month exoneration from any other, similar, fine.