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Belgium: Motorists that leave their engine running while stopped will be fined

Credits: Pixabay / pixel2013

In Belgium leaving your engine running while stopped hasn’t been allowed for a while.  However now, if you are caught committing this offense you will soon be given a fine of €130. Belgium are prepared to do something about this environmental offense.

Combating atmospheric pollution

Atmospheric pollution in cities is a very worrying problem as we have seen recently in the city of Bangkok, Thailand and even in New Delhi, India.  According to RTL Info, leaving your motor running while stopped is already forbidden in the Belgian highway code.  However from the 1 March 2019, people who break this rue will be given a fine of €130!

In contrast to common perceptions, leaving your engine running for more than 10 seconds emits more CO2 than if you just restarted your engine.  Therefore the aim of this measure is to reduce extra CO2 emissions that are harmful to the environment as well as our health.  However motorists could manage to save a substantial amount of money by following this measure with fuel becoming increasingly costly.

Already in 2016, the Wallone region believes that if every motorist reduced 5 minutes of their stopped time with their motor running every day, this would save the equivalent of 160 million litres of fuel.  This amount works out to be the same as 380,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions.

Credits : PxHere

What does the law really say?

The Belgian law states that in terms of administration, Belgian police can deliver a fine of €130 to an offender that should be collected immediately.  However leaving your motor running in a traffic jam will still be tolerated or if your car is stopped at a stop sign or red light.

The law also states that if this offense is prosecuted at a criminal level then “a 8 day to 3 year prison sentence could be sanctioned and a fine of at least €100 to a maximum of €1, 000, 000.”  However the case still mentions the phrase except in a case of necessity” which could imply many situations like de-icing your windscreen in winter.

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