Flemish Government agrees Climate plan that should reduce carbon emissions by 40%

After many hours of talks the members of the Flemish Government finally reached agreement on a climate plan on Thursday evening. The agreement means that the Flemish Environment and Planning Minister Zuhal Demir (nationalist) will leave for the COP 26 climate summit in Glasgow on Saturday where she will have the opportunity to present Flanders’ contribution to reducing global carbon emissions. 

The climate plan aims to reduce carbon emissions in our region by 40% (compared with 2005 level) by 2030. A switch from fossil fuel powered to electrically powered vehicles and measures to make homes more energy efficient form key parts of the Flemish climate plan.

Previously the Flemish Government had set a target of reducing carbon emissions by 35% (compared with 2005) by 2030. This has now been raised to 40%. 

The measures

The Climate Plan is a 40-point-plan containing measures concerning motor vehicles, domestic properties and industry and agriculture. 

1)Domestic properties

  • From 2023 anyone that buys an energy inefficient property will be legally obliged to renovate it to make it more energy efficient. The required work must be carried out to bring properties that are energy label E or lower up to Energy Label D standard.
  • Interest-free loans of up to 20,000 euro will be given (on top of existing grants) to help people finance the renovation work.  
  • From 2023 new-build properties must be heated with hybrid heat pumps. These are pumps that can run of either gas or electricity. Measures will also be taken to encourage those with heat pumps already in their homes to go hybrid.
  • From 2026 new-built properties will no longer be able to be connected to the mains gas supply.
  • The Flemish Civil Service will do its bit too. There is now a commitment by the Flemish Government to reduce emissions from public buildings by 55% by 2030.
  • The Flemish Government says that it is following a path towards all domestic properties being energy efficient by 2040. 

2) Motor vehicles

  • From 2029 the sale of cars and vans with internal combustion engines will be phased out. This is dependent on 3 factors: sufficient availability of alternatively powered vehicles, that these vehicles are affordably priced and that there are enough charging points. The deadline will be put back in one or more of these conditions is not met.
  • This ban will not apply to second-hand cars.
  • The Flemish Government aims to have 1 million electrically powered vehicles on the roads in Flanders by 2030. In order to provide motorists with sufficient facilities to recharge their vehicles 100,000 semi-public charging points will be available by the end of the decade.
  • The Flemish public transport company De Lijn and its sub-contractors will bring more and more green, emissions-free vehicles into service.
  • There will be no road charging scheme for private motor vehicles. 

3) Agriculture and industry

Emissions from our region’s agriculture will fall 10% more than had been originally planned.

  • ·        By 2030 carbon emissions from Flemish agriculture should have fallen by 30%. This will be achieved by adapting feed for cows so that they emit less methane when they break wind of defecate.
  • ·        Subsidies for gas-fired generators used at some agricultural and industrial sites will be scrapped from 2023.
  • ·        In industry too, the bar has been raised. Any grants or subsidies will be conditional on companies providing a climate plan.  
  • ·        A natural gas charge will be levied on industry, the proceeds from which (an estimated 45 million euro) will be used to help reduce ordinary citizens electricity bills.

 

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