Wallonia axes Low Emission Zone plans due in 2025

Walloon Environment Minister, Céline Tellier (Ecolo), has declared that the plan for Wallonia to become a Low Emission Zone (LEZ) was “disproportionate, difficult to apply and not very effective.” The Walloon LEZ is now axed, but major cities will be able to introduce restrictions to enhance air quality, not only on vehicles.

Introduced in 2019, under the guidance of former Environment Minister Carlo Di Antonio (cdH), the proposition for a general Walloon Low Emission Zone planned to ban driving for any Euro 0, 1, 2, and 3 cars. This ludicrous measure now gets the sack.

Smaller scale

Walloon Environment Minister, Céline Tellier (Ecolo), is putting the Walloon LEZ to rest. “In my view, the progressive ban on driving in Wallonia is disproportionate, difficult to apply, and not very effective in improving air quality,” she explained. “We couldn’t prevent poorer, older people from using their cars when there’s no public transport near their homes,” the Minister’s spokesperson added.

A study by the Issep (Public Service Scientific Institute) showed that LEZs are relevant in large cities but less so in smaller municipalities. Therefore, the Minister wants major cities to introduce “fair, effective and targeted measures” to enhance air quality. These measures will touch on transport, domestic heating, industry, and agriculture.

January 2025

Back in 2019, the proposition’s original deadline was January 2023. However, it has since been postponed to January 2025. That being said, nothing more than putting words on paper was done. While compensations were planned for those with large families or those driving less than 3,000 km a year, nothing was done to verify the vehicle’s age or Euro norm.

At the time, it was said that the government would use data from the car’s certificate, meaning that vehicles registered in another region or another country wouldn’t be affected by the LEZ. It wasn’t much of a LEZ, but more of a driving ban for Walloons.

439,752 vehicles

The proposition always seemed idyllic, if not idiotic. Not only because we Belgians and Walloons are used to political nonsense but also due to the sheer scale of the driving ban. In essence, former Environment Minister Carlo Di Antonio’s proposition aimed for a region-wide ban of any Euro 0, 1, 2, and 3 personal vehicles, with Euro 4 to follow a year later. This would have meant that 439 752 Walloon cars would become persona non grata on the territory within two years, which is 24% of the Walloon car fleet.


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