In 2018, 393 fines were imposed upon drivers who drove a highly polluting car in the Low Emissions Zone (“LEZ”) in force in Brussels, Brussels Environment (also known as the “IGBE”) indicated to the Belga press agency on Monday, thereby confirming information in the daily De Standaard. Only 10% of such fines have already been paid. After a transition period and issuing warning letters, fines have been imposed since 1 September upon drivers whose vehicle does not meet the requisite standards, and who enter the LEZ area.
Brussels Environment only has records available for the period since July 2018. Between 1 July to 31 October, the average number of offences per day thus went from 240 to 40 – a reduction of 85% in four months. By the end of December, there were some still 20 offences a day.
Mara Cavelier from Brussels Environment explains, “Having received their first fine, drivers then have three months to find an alternative vehicle [to use within the LEZ]. Should they continue to drive in the LEZ during these three months [in a highly polluting vehicle], they will not be reported as such, but they will however be recorded within the relevant statistics. Thus at the end of October, each day there were an average of ten drivers that were not subject to checks, although they had previously committed an offence.”
However, owners of highly polluting cars can purchase a day pass, enabling them to enter the LEZ area. In 2018 such 114 day card passes were purchased. Moreover, 966 exemptions were approved for vehicles, such as precursor vehicles with an “O” license plate, hydrogen and electric vehicles and certain lorries.