Five LEZ tips for people visiting Ghent, Antwerp and Brussels

Our country has 3 cities with a low emission zone: Antwerp, Brussels and Ghent. These five useful tips will help you gain an overview

A low emission zone (LEZ) always has the same ambition: improving the air quality by banning the most polluting vehicles from the city. However, there are local differences, and it is important to know these differences if you travel from Ghent to Antwerp or Brussels on a regular basis. 

1. Check whether your destination is located in the LEZ

Before you leave, it is recommended to check whether you need to enter the LEZ. The low emission zone in Brussels is for example much larger than the one in Ghent. The Antwerp LEZ covers the entire area between the ring road and Linkeroever. The Brussels LEZ includes all 19 municipalities of the Brussels-Capital Region, but excludes the ring road and the transit car parks. The Ghent LEZ covers the area inside the ring road with the exception of the ring road itself and the Nieuwewandeling-Blaisantvest axis. The access road to the Gent Zuid car park and AZ Sint-Lucas is not part of the LEZ either.

2. Check your vehicle's category, fuel type and Euro standard

The low emission zones in Belgium are regulated on a regional level. This means that the access requirements for Antwerp and Ghent (Flemish Region) differ to some extent from the LEZ rules that apply in Brussels (Brussels-Capital Region). We list the major differences below. Regardless of your destination, your vehicle's category, fuel type and Euro standard are a decisive factor in all cities. You can find this information on the registration certificate.

 

Antwerp & Ghent  

Brussels

Free access

Diesel Euro Standard 5 or more

Petrol/LPG/CNG and LNG Euro Standard 2 or more
 

Diesel Euro Standard 4
or more

Petrol/LPG/CNG and LNG
Euro Standard 2 or more

Acces after payment 

Diesel Euro Standard 4

Specific vehicles

Not possible to buy a permit 

Acces with a LEZ day pass

Diesel Euro Standard 3 or less

Petrol/LPG/CNG and LNG
Euro Standard 1 or less

Diesel Euro Standard 3
or less

Petrol/LPG/CNG and LNG
Euro Standard 1 or less

Each city has an online tool that enables you to check whether you can enter the relevant LEZ with your vehicle based on your vehicle's number plate and date of first registration:

Diesel-powered vehicles that at least meet Euro standard 5 are automatically allowed in Ghent and Antwerp. A transitional arrangement applies for diesel-powered vehicles that meet Euro standard 4; if you drive such a vehicle, you can buy a temporary permit for one week, one month, four months or one year. This will remain in effect until the end of 2024, when the access requirements will become more stringent. If your vehicle does not meet the applicable environmental standards and you want to enter the LEZ, you can buy a LEZ day pass up to eight times a year. A day pass costs €35 in both cities. The access requirements are less stringent for petrol, natural gas and CNG-powered vehicles.

Diesel-powered vehicles that at least meet Euro standard 4 are automatically allowed in Brussels. This will be the case until the end of 2021, after which all diesel-powered vehicles will have to at least meet Euro standard 5. However, it is not possible to buy a temporary permit in Brussels. You can buy a LEZ day pass for vehicles that do not meet the access requirements. Just like in Ghent and Antwerp, a day pass costs € 35 and you can buy such a pass up to eight times a year.

Do you drive a truck with a mass over 3.5 tonnes (vehicle category N2 or N3)? Then you have to comply with the LEZ rules in Ghent and Antwerp but not in Brussels.

3. Your paid permit is only valid in the city where you bought it

Do you have a one-year permit to enter the Ghent LEZ? Then this permit is only valid for the low emission zone in Ghent and not for the one in Antwerp. It is definitely not valid in Brussels as there are no temporary permits for the Brussels LEZ. The same holds true for a LEZ day pass: if you bought a day pass in Brussels, you cannot use the same day pass to enter the Antwerp or Ghent LEZ. As a general rule, any form of paid permit is only valid in the low-emission zone of the city where you bought the permit.

More info: temporary permit for Ghent LEZ - day pass for Ghent LEZ - temporary permit for Antwerp LEZ - day pass for Antwerp LEZ - day pass for Brussels LEZ.

4. Your free entry is valid in Ghent and Antwerp but not in Brussels

Some vehicles are allowed to enter the Brussels LEZ but first have to be registered free of charge. This is especially the case for vehicles that meet the access requirements but have a foreign number plate. Registration in Ghent is also valid in Antwerp and vice versa, but this does not hold true for the Brussels LEZ. This is because low emission zones are regulated on a regional level.

Foreign visitors who drive a vehicle that meets the access requirements therefore have to register their vehicle once for all Flemish low emission zones and once for the Brussels low emission zone. The rules differ slightly for Dutch visitors: they do not have to register for the Antwerp, Ghent and Brussels LEZ.

More information:

This is also true for certain vehicles that do not meet the access requirements but are nevertheless allowed to enter the LEZ in some cases, such as vehicles of a person with a disability. You can register these vehicles free of charge in Antwerp and Ghent, but have to apply for a special deviation (free of charge) in Brussels. In Brussels this deviation only applies to specifically modified vehicles. Check out what vehicles we are talking about here.

5. Your vehicle causes too much pollution? Consider the alternatives

Want to travel to Ghent, Antwerp or Brussels? There are several options to do so. A clean car is welcome everywhere, but perhaps you can save time by leaving your vehicle in a Park and Ride car park and transferring to a tram or bus? Another option is to take a folding bike on the train. Check out the different possibilities in advance: