The government of Brussels has agreed to a plan by the Minister of the Environment, Céline Fremault, to introduce a diesel ban in Belgium’s capital from 2030. The government also considers measures against petrol cars and is in favour of electric options.
Brussels has been seen fighting air pollution for some time as they first adopted a law allowing a temporary ban of all gas guzzlers at times of critical levels of pollution while making alternative modes of transport free of charge (we reported).
This latest initiative goes a step further and will ban all diesel cars from entering the city comes 2030. Already by 2025, diesel vehicles below Euro 6 won’t be permitted any longer and the ban could successively widen to include other fossil fuel powered cars as well.
Minister of Mobility Pascal Smet welcomes the government’s decision but would like to see the exclusion of all ICEs rather sooner than later for the sake of citizens’ health. Says Smet: “Our main roads are our airways. More than half of the Brussels families do not have a car, but still have the worst air in Belgium. That must be different, a ban on diesels is part of the solution.”
On the other hand, environmental organisation such as ClientEarth deemed the decision not enough. Says lawyer Ugo Taddei: “This proposal is not ambitious enough. Cities like Rome and Paris have announced a diesel ban in 2024. There is no reason why Brussels could not do the same,” particularly as it is the capital of Europe.
Rome indeed plans to ban private diesel vehicles from the historical centre as of 2024. The city’s mayor Virginia Raggi announced the plan in at the Women4Climate conference in Mexico City this March (we reported).
In France, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo is spearheading a movement for cleaner air and has discussed various measures, including free public transport similar to Brussels air pollution emergency plan. Even an ICE ban has been decided already as Paris is part of the C40 initiative of cities fighting climate change and pledged to say “adieu” to combustion-powered cars by 2030. Diesel engine cars are likely to be banned even earlier, before the start of the Olympic Games in 2024 (we reported).
The next steps for Brussels is monitoring the effect of the new policies and to report back in September to see if further measures to curb air pollution are required.