De Lijn forced to pay 35,000 euro in fines for breaches of Brussels low emissions zone

Since the introduction of the low emissions zone in the whole of the Brussels-Capital Region the Flemish public transport company De Lijn has been issued with 101 fines totalling 35,350 euro. The figures come from the Flemish Transport Minister Lydia Peeters (liberal) and were given in response to a question by the green member of the Flemish Parliament Stijn Bex. 

The low emissions zone came into force across the whole of the Brussels-Capital Region on 1 January 2019. All vehicles with the exception of police and other emergency service vehicles are obliged to comply. De Lijn operates numerous bus services between towns and villages in Flemish Brabant (and in some cases beyond) and Brussels.

Each time a diesel vehicle that is Euronorm 2 drives into the Brussels-Capital Region its owner risks a fine of 350 euro.

However, the authorities in Brussel issue just one fine per vehicle per quarter, which means that a maximum of 4 fines per vehicle can be issued per year. Given this, the fact that De Lijn has already been issued with 101 fines would suggest that at least 25 of its busses have breached the low emission zone rules in Brussels. 

More fines on the way?

The rules in Brussels are to be tightened further from 1 January. From then not only vehicles that are Euronorm 2 but also Euronorm 3 will be subject to fines if they enter the Brussels-Capital Region.

The Flemish Transport Minister Lydia Peeters says that an order for new (cleaner) busses will have been completed during the course of 2020. This coupled with the transfer of older (dirtier) vehicles from depots that serve routes into Brussels should mean that only around ten busses that serve the capital are no longer low emission zone compliant.

Once the new busses buses have been delivered De Lijn will have no more Euronorm 2 busses in service. However, 450 Euronorm 3 busses will still be operational in the Flemish public transport company’s fleet.