Foreign drivers too now risk a fine in Ghent

In January alone the city of Ghent issued foreign drivers with nearly 600 fines for ignoring the local circulation plan.  Until now the Ghent authorities had struggled to issue fines to foreign drivers.

Ghent has a circulation plan for traffic.  It means that at certain points drivers are obliged to turn round and cannot drive straight ahead.  Elsewhere cars are banned from the roads. The circulation plan limits are clearly indicated by large signposts and number plate recognition cameras are placed too, but until now foreign drivers escaped the fines because Ghent had no access to foreign number plate databanks.  This has now changed thanks to an agreement between the police and the authorities in France, Germany and the Netherlands.  UK drivers, it seems, can still violate the circulation plan without fearing a fine.

The fine is worth 58 euros.  The 583 fines issued to foreign drivers in January should raise 34,000 euros.

On the whole, drivers seem to be getting used to the circulation plan.  Last year 10,000 drivers flouted the rules in January.  This year the figure has fallen to 8,000.