Antwerp is now enforcing the Low Emission Zone with the most polluting vehicles banned from the city centre. Motorists with dirty cars driving into the zone will now be obliged to pay a 125 euro fine.
In practice petrol-fueled cars older than 22 years are affected as are DERV-fueled cars that do not possess a soot filter and are older than ten years. Cameras check all cars entering the zone. Cars with Belgian number plates will be compared to an automatically compiled list showing all cars that comply with the stricter norms.
For foreign drivers this is not the case. This is why it is crucial that foreign motorists heading for Antwerp register beforehand in order to avoid the 125 euro penalty.
Antwerp has been preparing for the Low Emission Zone for four years, and it’s the first city in Belgium to introduce the measure. By banning the most polluting cars the aim is to cut particulate matter levels in the air and improve air quality. The new zone is clearly marked by sign posts.
Until 2020 owners of heavily polluting vehicles can pay a fee to enter the zone: 20 euros for a day pass or 350 euros for an entire year. Passes should be purchased a day head of travel.
Motoring organisations estimate that up to 15,000 residents will no longer be able to use their vehicle without paying a penalty.
Brussels, Mechelen and Ghent are also planning similar low emission zones, with Brussels starting as early as next year, while Ghent is expected to start in 2020.
DERV cars with soot filter and complying with Euro norm 3 or higher and petrol cars complying with Euro norm 1 or higher are admitted free of charge. People driving on natural gas or electricity have nothing to fear. The same goes for bikers and moped users. The emergency services, the handicapped and some old-timers are exempt too. – vrt