What is new on 1 September?

The first of the month always heralds a set of changes that will affect us all to a lesser or greater extent. 60 Watt lamp bulbs are out. Taxis in Brussels get a new livery and there are new visiting rules for our gaol birds.

Starting today traditional 60 Watt electric light bulbs are no longer on sale in the shops. The EU earlier decided on a gradual withdrawal from sale of these polluting light bulbs. They are being replaced by lower wattage efficient light bulbs. Earlier 100 Watt and 75 Watt light bulbs were also taken out of sale. The death knell for all traditional light bulbs sounds on 1 September next year. 25 Watt and 40 Watt bulbs will then be taken out of sale. The sale of traditional light bulbs is being banned across the EU from this date onwards.

Starting 1 September the 1,300 taxis in the Brussels Region must all display the same livery: black with a chequered band that includes the colour mango yellow. The government hopes that making taxis more recognisable with make the sector more profitable.

The first Flemish "Broad School" opens in central Brussels. It includes primary and secondary classes as well as child care, sports and outside school time facilities.

People in the Brussels Region selling a home or offices over 500 sq. metres will have to provide an energy performance certificate issued by a recognised operator.

People transporting animals will in future have to possess a professional diploma. The Federal Food Safety Agency will carry out checks in abattoirs, at cattle markets and on the roads.

In 2008 the EU decided that people who are in contact with animals need to be familiar with animal welfare regulations. Transporters can follow a special course in order to obtain the diploma. The course deals with the effect transport can have on animals.

The first of the new month also means stricter regulations for bikers' clothing. Bikers are obliged to wear a protective coat with long sleeves or a biker's leathers. Gloves and boots also become obligatory.

The minimum age for motorbike passengers is lowered to 8. Bikers may overtake cars that are standing still but may not exceed 50 km/h. They are not allowed to drive above 20 km/h in jams and must stick to the two inside lanes.

A new sign post banning quads from certain city centres is also being introduced.

1 September also heralds changes for our gaol inmates. New regulations will clearly set out their rights and duties. In future each and every prisoner must be given a copy of the gaol's house rules setting out how he or she must behave and which items are permitted and which aren't. Contact with the outside world is also regulated. This affects prison visits, letters, phone calls and contacts with lawyers and the media.