Expatica news

Smog alert ends this afternoon

16 March 2007

BRUSSELS – The smog alert and the resulting 90 km/hr speed limit will be lifted this afternoon. Motorists adhered to the adjusted speed limit far better on Thursday than on the first day of its introduction.

On Wednesday – the first day of the smog alert – 30 percent of motorists in Flanders were caught for exceeding the 90 km/hr speed limit. More than 3,000 drivers can expect a fine.

The number of speeding violations fell to under 20 percent on Thursday, and dropped to even less than 5 percent during the evening rush hour.

What is the net effect on air quality of this temporary speed limit? “We would never be able to measure that,” says Frans Fierens of the Belgian Interregional Environment Agency (IRCEL).

“In the Netherlands they were able to measure less particulate matter along a stretch of several kilometres near Rotterdam, because they continued the experiment for a year. The impact of this first speed limit in connection with smog here serves more to sensitise people to the problem than actually have an effect on concentrations of particulate matter.”

Maarten Matienko of the VAB motorists association confirmed this. “The reactions from motorists show that they are willing to accept restrictions in the interest of public health, and that a lot of people were really shocked because they were confronted with the connection between traffic and the environment for the first time.”

[Copyright Expatica News 2007]

Subject: Belgian news