The draft order authorising low-emission zones (known as “ZBEs”), in Wallonia, not only anticipates that communes can define these on their given territories.
The government will also be entitled to set up regional ZBEs, in the case of pollution peaks within cities where pollution thresholds are reached. This is according to the Minister for the Environment, Carlo Di Antonio.
The cdH minister mentioned that a 2016 European directive in particular imposes a reduction of 59% of nitrous oxide emissions (NOx) by 2030, compared to 2005. He was questioned in the Environment Committee of the Walloon parliament by Olivier Maroy (MR) and Véronique Waroux (cdH).
Belgian and foreign diesel and petrol vehicles will be targeted by the ban on travelling around such zones in the first phase, effective from 1st January 2019. Certain exceptions are anticipated for a series of priority vehicles, the armed forces or vehicles specifically equipped for the disabled.
Older vehicles aged over 25 years driving with an “O” registration plate are also targeted. The minister says that genuine collectible older vehicles will be able to depart from the rule in return for the granting of permission.
Communes will be able to institute such ZBEs. However, the Walloon government will also be empowered to set up a given regional ZBE in the event of pollution peaks. It will also be able to impose the implementation of a ZBE within zones or agglomerations, for which the threshold values of atmospheric pollutants have been reached. Checks will take place using cameras to identify the licence plates of highly polluting vehicles, or through an annually renewable tax disc, permitting entry into the given zone. The offences fall within the second and third categories of Belgium’s Environment Code.