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EU Urban Mobility Observatory
News article8 November 20211 min read

Its Low Emission Zone has made Brussels a healthier city

In 2018, the authorities in the Belgian capital Brussels introduced a Low Emission Zone (LEZ), which involved restrictions on the use of vehicles that met emission standards below Euro 4. A recent evaluation of the impacts of the LEZ has demonstrated that the scheme has made the city a healthier place to live and work. 

The results of the Brussels-Capital region’s study directly link recent improvements in air quality in the Belgian capital to the implementation of its LEZ. The study examined the LEZ’s effects between 2018 and 2020. In this period, pollutants such as the oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and small particulate matter (PM2.5) have been successfully reduced: levels of PM2.5 have declined by 38%, and emissions of NOx by 9%. Exposure to excessive levels of both of these pollutants are linked to health problems, such as respiratory and heart problems, as well as to mental health issues.

The study also demonstrated that there has been a change in the car fleet in Brussels, as a result of the LEZ. The share of diesel cars dropped from 62% in 2018 to below half of the vehicles in 2020. Diesel vehicles have mainly been replaced by hybrid vehicles, with few fully electric vehicles in use in the city.

The conditions for entering the Brussels LEZ will become stricter. In 2022, the restrictions will completely ban all diesel vehicles below Euro 4 from entering the Brussels-Capital Region, while there will be a full ban on diesel vehicles by 2030.



Publication date
8 November 2021
  • Urban Vehicle Access Regulations
  • Belgium