How will the Low Emission Zone (LEZ) impact air quality?
The Low Emission Zone (LEZ) helps to reduce road transport emissions by gradually banning the most polluting vehicles from the Brussels-Capital Region.
The first results of the LEZ are encouraging. In just six months, the number of older diesel vehicles on the road has fallen significantly and the quantity of NOx and PM2.5 emitted by cars on the road has also decreased. These results are detailed in the 2018 evaluation report.
In the medium term, air quality is expected to improve across the Region due to the LEZ. Brussels Environment expects that air quality standards for NO2 will be met at all measuring stations in the Region between 2020 and 2025, as outlined in the study on the expected effects of the LEZ. This will improve the quality of life and the health of all Brussels residents.
Our health is at stake
Various studies by the World Health Organization (WHO) have highlighted the significant health impacts of poor air quality.
Indeed, pollutants from road transport are causing an increase in:
- Respiratory disorders and conditions (including asthma, for example),
- Eye and nasal irritation,
- Coughing and bronchitis,
- Cardiovascular diseases,
- Risk of stroke, heart disease and lung cancer.
The elderly, children and the sick are the most vulnerable. According to the latest report from the European Environment Agency: in 2016, Belgium recorded 7,600 premature deaths from exposure to particulate matter, 1,600 premature deaths from exposure to nitrogen dioxide and 180 premature deaths from ozone exposure (source : EEA report 2019) The European Environment Agency estimates that pollutant emissions from engines cause 68,000 premature deaths in Europe yearly.
By prohibiting access to the most polluting vehicles in cities, we are helping to improve air quality for all, which is why the conditions for access to the LEZ will gradually become more restrictive over time.