Brussels to tackle air pollution


The Belgian capital has passed a law which will make public transport and the bike sharing programme free on high pollution days. The law will also cut speed limits. Temporary ICE bans are also possible.

The law was forwarded for judicial review last week and is expected to be enacted this summer. Speed limits are expected to be cut by around one third, which officials hope will also help deal with congestion. The city also plans to electrify their entire bus fleet by 2030.

On the days where air pollution reaches the above-mentioned levels for 48 sustained hours, buses, trams and the bicycle share programme will be available for free to all users, however the designated level is quite high and will only be enacted as an emergency measure. For reference, the regional environmental agency recommends that particulate levels remain below 20 micrograms per cubic meter, allowing for significant amounts of additional pollution before measures take hold.

However, should the pollution not subside after the measures are enacted, additional measures have been prepared, such as the banning of heating office buildings. Should that also not help, the city is prepared to ban the driving of all non-electric, non-emergency vehicles until levels return to a healthy standard.

Pascal Smet, Brussels mobility minister said “the most car-friendly cities are also the most congested. By giving back space to pedestrians and cyclists, cities can create places where people meet and connect”. He continued: “The idea is not to ban cars from the city, but to find a new balance”.

theguardian.com, citylab.com


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