Environmental zone news continues to keep people in Belgium and the Netherlands busy.

Arnhem environmental zone
The TDI engine debuted 25 years ago in the Audi 100. The TDI contributed significantly to the growing popularity of the diesel. Image: Pon

The environmental zone news continues to occupy the minds and provide a distinction in urban policy. On 1 February, the Flemish equivalent of the Dutch environmental zone - the Low Emission Zone - in Antwerp becomes topical. In the meantime, it became known in the Netherlands that the Mayor and Aldermen of Haarlem did not like setting up an environmental zone. Furthermore, the coming months will show whether the KNAC is in favor of the municipality of Utrecht. And in April the evaluation of the Rotterdam environmental zone will take place. 

In Antwerp, the conditions for entering the city have changed from 1 February. These standards will only be tightened up in the future. Drivers of diesel cars that meet the Euro 4 emission standard (introduced in 2006) or a Euro 3 diesel with a particulate filter (introduced in 2001) are allowed to enter the Antwerp environmental zone. Cars with a petrol engine with the Euro 1 standard and higher are also allowed to enter the Low Emission Zone in Antwerp.

Step-by-step tightening rules

Drivers with a Euro 3 diesel without a soot filter can buy an exemption for 35 euros per day eight times a year. Whoever enters the Antwerp environmental zone unauthorized, risks a fine of 125 euros. The check may be described as strict. Numerous cameras record violations in this area. The new rules will apply up to 2020 for the time being. Then they are sharpened. Another revision will follow in 2025. The interest groups against the Belgian zones to be introduced are not amused. What is striking is that they have particular difficulty with the fact that owners of, in particular, older diesels are confronted with an accomplished fact, while they by no means always have the means to purchase an accepted vehicle.

Haarlem: currently no environmental zone

The college of mayor and aldermen of Haarlem sees nothing in setting an environmental zone for the time being. Haarlem has already opted for environmental measures. It organized a Green Deal with suppliers and other parties in the city. The aim of this deal is to work towards a situation where polluting emissions will no longer occur in 2025. The Haarlem college does not consider an environmental zone of added value to achieve this objective. The city council must now consider this decision. Incidentally, Haarlem can always make the choice for the environmental zone as an instrument if the objectives are not achieved.

In the coming months important for the sustainability of Dutch zones

The coming months will be important for the future of the environmental zones in the Netherlands. The Council of State will shortly be ruling in the legal battle of the KNAC against the municipality of Utrecht. The KNAC has been fighting against the environmental zone in the Domstad since 2013. A lot is also happening in Rotterdam. On 12 March 2017, the Rotterdam Classics Foundation is organizing an old-timer / young-timer meeting against the environmental zone in the port city. It is important that the first evaluation of the environmental zone will be held in Rotterdam in April. Both the evaluation in Rotterdam and the outcome of the battle between KNAC and the municipality of Utrecht form an important indicator of the sustainability of the environmental zones. Less action is to be expected from national politics for the time being - with the elections approaching.

Smart to Antwerp

Finally, we will return to Antwerp. On the website you can read more about the Antwerp zone and the conditions for entering the Low Emission Zone in the Flemish port city.

One Comment

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  1. With my German young timer / old man I can just go into those environmental zones, so it didn't really affect me, but it's pure symbolic politics. You hardly come across gasoline vehicles from the 80s, so what numbers are they or what will the measurable result be?

    It seems clear to me that Antwerp has an air quality problem, but that is mainly due to the enormous mountain of transition traffic that passes over the Ring and the proximity of the ports. Moreover, Zaventem, with its enormously polluting passenger planes, is nearby.

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René Rooke

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