Ostend mayor ditches official car for electric bike

In Ostend the new city administration has unveiled its plans for the next six years.  A plastic-free Ostend is one of the priorities for the new liberal, Flemish nationalist, green and Christian democrat coalition.

Future mayor Bart Tommelein (pictured below centre right with his new team): "At all the many events the city organises, but also on the beach we'll try to avoid plastic.  We're going to ensure that plastic can no longer be used on the beach.  We're planning experiments with no smoking zones on the beach too, because fag ends are very polluting."

The city intends to encourage people to use other forms of packaging, but action will be taken against those who stubbornly refuse to move with the times.

Ostend has plans to become Flanders top city for cyclists improving the infrastructure and expanding 30km/h zones. Some of the cars used by city cabinet members will be replaced by electric bikes.

Bart Tommelein: "You won't see the mayor in his official car very often. I'll be on my bike."

Air quality in the inner city is a matter of concern too.  Ostend plans to reduce car use in the inner city by expanding out of city car parking and using electric shuttles.

People with a second home in the city will be interested to hear that the new administration will be looking for a fairer system of taxing holiday homes.  At present Ostend slaps the top rate tax of 1,000 euros on all holiday homes.  It will now look at different rates for different-sized homes.