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Toll to keep lorries out of Brussels

thursday -
Reporters

Soon after the Walloon government, the government of the Brussels Capital Regional as well approved the introduction, as of 2016, of a distance-based toll for lorries. This toll is intended to discourage freight transport in the city, to reduce pollution and to make freight transport companies contribute in a fairer way to the costs of the road infrastructure.

The three regions have jointly agreed to abandon the so-called ‘Eurovignette’ early 2016, replacing it by a distance-based toll for trucks. In the future, each 3,5 tons-and-up lorry will pay a tax fee for each kilometre on its odometer. Heavy polluters (lorries that do not comply with the Euro-standard) will pay the highest rate per kilometre. Heavy freight vehicles of more than 32 tons will pay an additional levy.

The objective of this toll is threefold. Firstly, the toll will lessen air pollution, as it will stimulate companies to use their trucks more efficiently by avoiding unnecessary journeys as much as possible. By levying extra taxation on heavily polluting lorries, over time, the freight fleet should become more environmentally sound. Secondly, the freight companies will be pay a toll amount that is commensurate with their usage; that is a fairer way to make them contribute to the maintenance costs of road infrastructure.

Finally, the Brussels Region wants to discourage lorries from using regional and municipal communal roads, by applying a double or triple toll respectively. Lorries will thus be dissuaded from entering the city. According to the first simulations, the toll could in the short term lead to a decrease of the number of lorry kilometres on Brussels’ regional (- 4 percent) and municipal roads (- 14 percent).

'In contrast to Flanders and Wallonia, here in Brussels we deliberately choose to make freight traffic on regional and municipal roads more expensive', says Pascal Smet, Minister of Mobility in Brussels. 'That is the only way we can keep heavy freight vehicles from crossing the inner city in an attempt to avoid toll on the large ring R0. For the Brussels’ residents this implies that fewer trucks will drive into their region. Both air quality and urban mobility will benefit from this.'