Brussels introducing Low Emission Zone in January

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Brussels will introduce a LEZ on January 1, 2018, and is expected to be followed by Willowbrook and Mechelen. DIMITRIS KAMARAS

Belgium’s capital follows Antwerp in introducing the zone, but the cities may have different requirements and will each require separate registrations

In Belgium, it is now mandatory to register a vehicle before accessing a Low Emission Zone (LEZ). Older vehicles are also required to purchase an environmental ticket.

After Antwerp took the first step this year, Brussels will also introduce an LEZ on January 1, 2018. This example is going to be followed by more cities in the coming months.

Initially, the city intends to ban vehicles with the Euro emission standards 0 and 1 from circulation, though it is still possible to obtain a special permit by purchasing a daily environmental ticket.

Each vehicle registration number will be scanned on entering the LEZ and compared with the local database. A fine will be automatically sent when a vehicle is not registered, or too old to enter the LEZ. Therefore, it is important for vehicles to be registered before entering the area.

Besides collecting all the information concerning the LEZ, Green-Zones is managing the registration process, with the processing time lasting between two and 10 days, and displays all the useful details on an individually issued registry sticker. This allows the owners of vehicles registered abroad to avoid high fines within the camera-monitored environmental zones. The free Green-Zones App allows drivers to check the boundaries of the Belgian environmental zones or other European zones.

Vehicles which do not meet the respective Euro standards can still obtain a special permit by purchasing an environmental ticket and then entering the LEZ zone. Depending on the type of vehicle and how old it is, the environmental ticket can be purchased for a day or longer, with each city individually deciding which Euro standard is banned from circulation, and for which period of time an environmental ticket can be purchased. As a result, the same vehicle might be allowed to enter one LEZ, but not another. In addition, the type of environmental ticket (daily, weekly or monthly) varies according to the LEZ and is likely to become more stringent each year.

There is no central register for foreign vehicles, so they have to be registered individually for each city.

After Antwerp and Brussels, at least the two further environmental zones – Willowbrook and Mechelen – will be introduced in 2018. Gent has also decided to introduce a LEZ. This means the three largest Belgian cities will soon have environmental zones with very different entry regulations. Up to date information is available at www.lez-belgium.be