As of 1, January 2018 high pollution cars will be forbidden from entering the Brussels Region. Brussels will be joining Gent and Antwerp as low emissions cities. The city government is launching a media campaign in the coming weeks to raise awareness for the upcoming changes. The plan aims to reduce auto traffic in the city center,with an estimated 95,000 vehicles being taken off the roads. Only automobiles that comply with euronorm 1 will be allowed to drive in the city. Local activists are pleased with the plan as there have been many claims that the air quality in Brussels has become worse, although recent tests show that the decrease in quality wasn’t as bad as feared. Nevertheless, the city government is implementing the first step in a 3-step plan that will force all automobiles in Brussels to comply with Euronorm 3 by 2020.
How will the plan be enforced?
90 ANPR-cameras will be installed and ready for the beginning of the year, but they won’t be writing tickets just yet. The first 9 months will be an respite period where the local department of transportation will try to alert drivers to this new regime, afterwards warning will be issued for first time offenders, followed by 350€ fines for repeat offenders. Brussels mobility minister Pascal Smets, of the Flemish Socialist party S.pa, says that the aim is not to punish people with fines.
Critics claim that not enough is being done to accommodate the 95,000 cars that will no longer be able to enter the any of the 19 communities of Brussels, but the Minister Smets has pointed out that 3 parking lots with intracity connections have been set up outside of the city, and an estimated 20,000 new parking spots will be added to those already available.
With this clear and effective solution Brusselaars can exhale a sigh of relief, knowing that the local government is working to make life more amenable to those living and working in the city.