No general 100 km/h speed limit on Walloon highways

The idea of introducing a general speed limit of 100 km/hour on Walloon hhighhways and main roads has not been included in the Walloon government’s revised climate and energy plan (PACE, Plan Air Climate Énergie).

Instead of a general speed limit of 100 km/hour, there will be ‘dynamic management’ of speed limits, says Walloon Mobility Minister Philippe Henry (Ecolo).

The proposition that originated from the citizens’ panel would have an immediate effect on reducing overall greenhouse gases by 2%.

Dynamic speed management

The minister provoked many reactions in September last year with the proposal for a general speed limit of 100 km/hour, and the coalition partners were not at all in favor. In the end, minister Henry thus abandons the proposed measure, according to the update of the Walloon 2030 Air Climate and Energy Plan (PACE).

“There were favorable opinions but also very unfavorable ones,” Henry said. “We made adjustments. We have not opted for a general speed reduction on highways or major roads.”

The Walloon government wants to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from road traffic by 55% by 2030. To achieve this ambition, the Du Rupo government opts for “dynamic speed management with variable speeds according to the route and time of day”.

Goodwill of the municipalities

“The intention is to have an impact on reducing CO2 emissions and road safety,” Minister Henry explained. The revised plan also provides, in consultation with the municipalities, for the introduction of car-free zones in built-up areas (pedestrian zones, 30 zones, etc…) and for “encouraging” speed reductions from 90 to 70 km/hour on other roads.

Adjusting speed limits is just one of 255 measures in the climate and energy plan. Limiting the development and growth objectives, in terms of the number of flights, of Liège and Charleroi airports was another proposal, but that measure has been dropped as well. That plan should be integrated into Belgium’s national energy and climate plan next year.

While the Netherlands has lowered the maximum speed on highways to 100 km per hour to reduce air-polluting emissions such as nitrogen oxides, political parties in Flanders, such as CD&V and Open Vld, are also rejecting an imposed reduction in speed on highways.

Ban on gasoline and diesel cars from 2025

For the rest, to align with the European ban on the sale of combustion engine vehicles (gasoline and diesel) from 2035, a progressive ban schedule will be established.

This will begin on 1 January 2025 for cars without norm, Euro 1, 2, and 3, and will progressively apply to Euro 4, 5, and 6 cars until 2030. Vehicles that drive less than 3 000 km per year and classic cars will be exempted.

In Flanders, no diesel cars will be allowed to drive in the low-emission zones (LEZ) of Antwerp and Ghent from 2031. From 2035, gasoline cars will also be banned.

In Brussels, no diesel cars will be welcome from 2030 onward. For gasoline cars, the timing is similar, and the ban will apply from 2035.

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