Fresh funding for eco-friendly transport initiatives

Summary

Transport companies that make investments in greener lorries are eligible for up to €100,000 in new subsidies, while €5.8 billion will be spent on roadworks and public transport

Cleaner traffic

Flemish mobility minister Ben Weyts has announced new subsidies for transport companies that invest to make lorries more clean and environmentally friendly than the law requires. Among the measures available for subsidy are soot filters, selective catalytic reduction systems, which clean exhaust emissions, systems to reduce fuel consumption or noise nuisance and equipment such as ergonomic seats that improve driver comfort.

Subsidies can go up to 80% of the investment, to a maximum of €100,000 over the course of three years, as imposed by EU laws. Investments made since 1 January can be subsidised retroactively.

Weyts has also announced a budget of €5.8 billion from now until the end of this legislature in 2019, for roadworks, work on waterways, public transport investment and cycle infrastructure. “Investment budgets for all forms of transport will go up to a historic high,” he said.

Nearly half of the total – €2.7 billion – goes to roadworks. This year alone works will be carried out on 100km of motorway and 450km of regional roads. Waterways will receive €2.25 billion, while public transport receives €816 million, with €300 million for cycle infrastructure.

The investment is in preparation for the transport scene of the future, as forecast by the federal government’s planning office. It expects freight traffic to increase by 44% by 2030, with personal transport increasing by 11% over the same period. Traffic congestion, meanwhile, has doubled in Belgium since 2011.

This year, 34 major roadworks are planned on the region’s motorways, involving structural maintenance and new infrastructure, such as noise-reduction panels along the A12, a new bridge over the E34 at Assenede and new on- and off-ramps at Aalter.

On the waterways, the Leie will be deepened and widened as part of the Seine-Scheldt connection, and the bridges over the Albert Canal will be raised.

Photo courtesy Mermans-Van Houdt