Preparations for the Maastricht city centre low-emissions zone

On 13 March 2018, the municipal council instructed the Municipal Executive to draw up a proposal for a low-emissions zone in the city centre based on exemption passes (stickers).

Elaboration of proposal

This proposal has been further developed in recent months. Investigations have taken place as to where the boundaries of the zone should lie, what the admission requirements should be, and how enforcement will take place. The municipal council has also requested an investigation as to whether the rules of the low-emissions zone would also apply to mopeds and scooters and whether the zone could be extended beyond the area within the boulevards encircling the centre (the ‘singels').

During this elaboration process, intensive consultations were held with the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management. These consultations were initiated because the State Secretary Stientje van Veldhoven wants the same rules to apply to all low-emission zones in the Netherlands, which also means the same enforcement and the same admission requirements. To this end, she sent a proposal to the House of Representatives. These requirements can be tightened step by step to ultimately create an emission-free zone.

Low-emission zone with camera surveillance

Her proposal states that enforcement should be carried out by means of vehicle number plate recognition with cameras. The problem is that fines can only be imposed for Dutch vehicles using this form of enforcement. The State Secretary intends to arrange this with the other European countries, but cannot yet say when this will be possible. The many Belgian and German vehicles driving in Maastricht mean that it is important to be able to fine drivers of these vehicles too, as otherwise there will be no effective low-emissions zone.

Decision of the council

As Maastricht's municipal council needs to decide whether a low-emissions zone is to be created, the municipality has written a council proposal. The municipality is therefore asking the council to agree to change the low-emissions zone in accordance with the national harmonization proposal. If the council agrees, the proposal will be further elaborated and a final proposal will be submitted to the council as soon as the enforceability of the rules for vehicles with Belgian and German number plates is known. All council documents can be found in the council information system (low-emissions zone agenda item).

Your opinion and the decision-making process

Before the municipal council accepts or rejects this proposal, it would like your opinion regarding the matter. Everyone is therefore welcome to come and share their opinions during the City Meeting on 22 January 2019 at 5:00 PM. No registration for this is required. During the municipal council’s consultative meeting on 29 January 2019, the members of the council will enter into discussions with each other and the Municipal Executive. As a resident, you have the formal right to make your opinion known. To do so, you must register by sending an e-mail to raadsgriffie@maastricht.nl or by calling +31 (0)43 350 40 46. We expect the council to announce its decision at the council meeting on 12 February 2019.

Want to know more about City Meetings, municipal council consultative meetings, and your contribution? Read more on the pages of the city council (in Dutch).

Why do we need a low-emissions zone?

The low-emissions zone is necessary to achieve the goal the current coalition has signed up for – an emission-free city – step by step. A low-emissions zone is the valve on the ‘pipe’ of exhaust fumes; by closing it little by little, traffic in the city will ultimately be emission-free. This offers clarity, predictability, and consequently certainty for road users. An announcement will be made a long time in advance as to when the valve will be closed still further (as the standards are made stricter), and the area to which the new rules will apply. The Municipality of Maastricht wants to ensure a sustainable and accessible city. After all, this in turn will ensure a pleasant living environment and cleaner air.

The low-emissions zone in brief

  • If a low-emissions zone is created, lorries, vans, and passenger cars running on diesel with a vehicle standard lower than Euro 4 may no longer enter the low-emissions zone;
  • The admission requirements will become stricter step by step (with a number of phases;
  • The low-emissions zone rules will eventually also be extended to include mopeds and scooters;
  • The council has not yet taken a decision on the area to be covered. There are still three working variants. These have been included in the council's proposal. The proposal includes a scrapping scheme for vehicles registered within this area which are no longer allowed into the low-emissions zone.

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