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LEZ – situational analysis

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Low Emission Zone

What is the LEZ?

The LEZ, which came into force in January 2018, was created to filter out the most polluting vehicles and is implemented in the entire Brussels-Capital Region (the 19 municipalities). The ring road is excluded from the zone, as are certain roads providing access to transit parking areas.

The main objective of this measure is to improve the quality of the air and the lives of Brussels residents. We wanted a measure that we could roll out step by step, allowing all drivers to gradually adapt their behaviour. From 2018 to 2025, the low emission zone will be one of Brussels’ best anti-pollution tools as well as a great way to raise awareness regarding air quality and its daily impact on our health, added the Minister for the Environment, Céline Fremault.

The access criteria are based on the EURO standard (indicated on the vehicle’s ‘grey card’ or registration certificate) and on the type of fuel. This is an evolutive mechanism, meaning that it will be introduced gradually and completed in 2025 (see tables below).

Current situation

Thanks to a six-month trial phase, the competent bodies were able to test the system, giving the public and commuters the chance to adapt to the new measure.

The warning phase ran from July to the end of September. Around 3,000 warnings were sent out by the Brussels institution for fiscal affairs (French: Bruxelles Fiscalité, Dutch: Brussel Fiscaliteit) to the owners of diesel vehicles with the EURO1 standard or without a EURO standard who had not paid the 35 EUR day pass (which can be purchased up to eight times per year).

Since 1 October, all vehicles incompliant with the standards can be fined up to 350 EUR. Furthermore, they risk up to 4 fines per year as long as they do not fulfil the access criteria.

What is the BRIC’s contribution?

Several administration and organisations are involved in the LEZ project, including: Brussels Environment, Brussels Mobility, the Brussels Regional Informatics Centre, Brussels Prevention & Security and Brussels Fiscality.

The BRIC contributes on a technical level, installing smart cameras, managing and transferring the images to the datacenter and executing the required IT-developments in IRISbox and FIDUS.

Smart cameras

 “Instead of opting for a sticker system, in force in some European cities, we have decided to use smart cameras to monitor the LEZ. In addition to the LEZ, the smart cameras can also be used for many other applications: speed checks, mobility analyses, detecting or pursuing explained by Bianca Debaets, Secretary of State for the Digital Transition.

So far, 176 capture points installed specifically for the LEZ project are in use. These are cameras that read registration plates, because the vehicles within the LEZ are monitored through their license plates. In addition, ANPR cameras will be installed as part of the Police ANPR project coordinated by Brussels Prevention & Security and the BRIC. All regional cameras are integrated into the CCTV platform.

All images are transferred to the datacenter of the BRIC where they are processed by the services concerned.


The BRIC has not only installed the cameras, but also collaborates with the Brussels institution for fiscal affairs (French: Bruxelles Fiscalité, Dutch: Brussel Fiscaliteit) for the development of 5 LEZ-specific forms:

  • Registration form for vehicles registered abroad
  • Exemption request form for vehicles registered abroad
  • Exemption request form for vehicles registered in Belgium
  • Exemption request form for vehicles registered to a company
  • Purchase form for a day pass

Following an analysis of the needs and the identification of the required information on the forms, the BRIC started developing them in IRISbox. Furthermore, the centre set up a secured information exchange platform through FIDUS. It was also necessary to develop a specific tool allowing foreigners to access IRISbox.

From now on, the citizens, companies and visitors of Brussels can complete their requests using IRISbox.

Media attention

The Low Emission Zone (LEZ) has been a hot topic in the press during the past few days.

A large-scale communication campaign was launched, which ran from October to December 2017. Just before the fines came into force, in September 2018, the campaign was reprised.

Using the tagline “There are 1,001 was to travel around Brussels without using an over-polluting car”, the campaign aimed to call upon the imagination of the public, encouraging people to find ways of travel other than extremely polluting cars.

Since the campaign involved radio commercials, posters, pre-roll videos on the internet, animated items on social networks, e-news and leaflets, it benefitted from heavy exposure.  

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