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 www.slimnaarantwerpen.be you can read more about the Antwerp zone and the conditions for entering the Low Emission Zone in the Flemish port city.