Smoke detectors, roof insulation and double glazing obligatory and disposable cups banned from 1 January

A new year brings with it new rules and modifications to existing regulations. Today provides a summary of the most important changes to rules regarding health and the environment. 

Smoke detectors become obligatory

From 1 January 2020 smoke detectors will become obligatory in all residential properties in Flanders. Since 2013 smoke detectors have been  obligatory in all rented properties and all newly-built homes. This is now being extended to cover all homes in the five Flemish provinces. The extension of the rule to cover all properties has come about due to the relatively high number of fatalities in house fires in our region.

However, no checks will be carried out to ensure that the rule is being respected and the presence of smoke detectors will also not become a condition for being able to get fire insurence. 

Roof insulation and double glazing mandatory

From Wednesday good roof insulation and double glazing will become mandatory in all Flemish homes. Properties that have no or insufficient roof insulation can be declared unsuitable for habitation.

Roof insulation must be a least 3 to 4cm thick. In houses in which the attic is not being used, the floor of the attic must be insulated. The rules apply to both own-occupied and rented properties.  

The grants given by utilities network management companies for the installation of high-efficiency glazing are to fall from 10 euro/M² to 8 euro/M². The grant given to those installing a water pump boiler is also set to fall from 400 euro to 300 euro. Other grants from the network management companies will remain unchanged.   

Stricter requirements for new-builds


From 1 January those building a new home will have to observe stricter energy efficiency norms thorough renovation.  The maximum energy performance level is being reduced from E40 to E35. Meanwhile, E70 is the maximum for renovated homes.

Disposable cups banned

From 1 January 2020 it will be forbidden to use disposable plastic cups, plastic bottles or cans. If disposable “receptacles” are used the organiser must ensure that at least 90% of them are collected up at the end of the event.

The police will be deployed to make sure that the ban is being observed. The Flemish Environment Inspectorate will be responsible for issuing sanctions where appropriate.

In addition to disposable cups, synthetic weed killers will also be banned for private use. Professional users (farmers, park keepers, gardeners…) will still be able to apply for a licence to synthetic weed killers.    

The end for hand-written prescriptions

From Wednesday GPs and specialists will no longer be allowed to issue hand-written prescription. In future all prescriptions must be printed off from the computer. Only in the case of IT failure or on home visits will doctors be able to issue hand-written prescriptions.

Cigarettes in identical packets

From 1 January 2020 all tobacco products must be sold in identical packaging. Brand logos and promotional texts will be banded. Only the name of the product, its type and the amount contained in the packet can appear. All packets will be the same colour (green/brown). 

The aim of the measures is to further reduce the number of smokers in Belgium.   

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