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NPF highlights

Download the full NPF documents:

English translation: belgium npf.en.pdf

Original language: belgium npf.pdf

Download the National Implementation Report 2019:

Belgium NIR 2019.zip

NPF highlights and 2019 NPF reporting on implementation highlights

On this page, we provide relevant information on the topic of alternative fuels vehicles, infrastructure or support measures as provided in the National Policy Framework (NPF) as well as the 2019 Reporting by the Member States on the NPF implementation.

According to Art. 10(1) of the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Directive, each Member State shall submit to the European Commission a report on the implementation of its National Policy Framework on a tri-annual basis, and for the first time by or before 18 November 2019. Those Reports must contain a description of the measures taken in the reporting Member State in support of alternative fuels infrastructure build-up. An overview of the Reports notified by [Member State] and received by the Commission to date is provided here below (download section), including an English translation where applicable.

The highlights for all National Policy Framework follow more or less the same structure: we first explain the modelling approach where one has been provided, we then explain the objectives or key focus areas of the NPF and then provide an overview of the key messages for those alternative fuels with distinct infrastructure requirements for which Member States had to develop national targets according to the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Directive (electricity, hydrogen, LPG, CNG and LNG - therefore not covering for instance biofuels or synthetic fuels. The highlights are extracts from the NPF documents. These highlights should not be considered summaries of the NPFs. For a full and  complete overview, we  advise to read the NPF documents

 

Highlights 2019 Reporting on the NPF implementation 

Given the complex institutional context in Belgium (both regional and federal entities are directly involved) and the various involved policy areas such as economy, mobility, energy, environment, finances,..., an interdepartmental transversal government working group (Energy-Transport) was created. The Federal Public Service of Economy and the Federal Public Service of Mobility & Transport (federal government of Belgium) are coordinating the national concertation and development of the Belgian policy framework and progress reports. 

The Regions have been competent for tax incentives for individuals since 1 January 2013 (also see the regional policy frameworks). The annual road tax and the vehicle registration tax (BIV) are determined by the regional authorities.

However, Federal tax measures can be used, for example, to promote the purchase of sustainable commercial vehicles. This is not without importance as the expansion of sustainable commercial vehicle fleets can speed up general introduction significantly.

The Flemish Region remains firmly committed to alternative fuels for transport through the implementation of the Flemish Clean Power for Transport Action Plan, which was approved at the end of 2015. The Action Plan aims to bring about a shift from traditional combustion engines to vehicles running on alternative fuels (battery electric, plug-in hybrid, CNG and hydrogen). The objectives and measures under this Action Plan were included in the National Policy Framework, which was submitted in November 2016 in accordance with the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Directive (AFID).

The new Walloon Government that took up office on 13 September 2019 emphasized various aspects of mobility in its regional policy statement (RPS), primarily reducing the need for mobility and the modal shift, as well as stressing the importance of fuel switching. More broadly, Wallonia will integrate the process which has already begun of phasing out ICE vehicles. In a transitional phase, the Government will support an ambitious plan to establish electric charging points and compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG) stations, evenly distributed across Wallonia. It will promote vehicles powered by natural gas, electricity and hydrogen and hybrid vehicles. Wallonia will support local authorities through central procurement to help them green their vehicle fleets and machinery.

The policy statement of the new Brussels Government (2019-2024) included phasing- out diesel vehicles by 2030 at the latest and petrol and LPG vehicles by 2035, a measure which has also been included in Good Move. This phasing-out will be structured as a continuation of the Low-Emission Zone (LEZ), which has been in force since 1 January 2018 for the entire territory of the Brussels Capital Region and which has currently established access criteria up to and including 2025. The Government’s aim here is to promote the development of light, low-carbon and shared vehicles. An impact study of the phasing-out of ICE vehicles will be launched at the end of 2019, which will provide elements for refinement of the regional strategy on alternative vehicles (electric, hybrid, CNG and hydrogen), taking into account the impact and development of each technology.

To encourage the transition to electric transport, the BCR has already taken a number of measures, especially with regard to the exemplary role of the Brussels public authorities with regard to transport, licences for electric taxis, financial support for businesses for replacement of delivery vans, etc.

Electricity: Within the structured dialogue of the inland waterway services platform, the operational cooperation between the port authorities, the commercial shipping sector and the Mobility and Public Works Department was continued and strengthened for the greening of inland navigation, including the reduction of emissions through the use of shore-side electricity. Inland waterway vessels have for some time been able to make use of shore-side electricity facilities in the Flemish port areas. The expansion of a network of shore-side electricity facilities for inland waterway vessels (NOTE: these are all low voltage connections) was a priority and is still ongoing (see https://www.binnenvaartservices.be/walstroom). In 2018, two shore-side electricity installations were placed at the cruise terminal in the outport of the Port of Brussels.

Natural gas (LNG): In Flanders, LNG is currently not very widely used, but investments have been made in the necessary facilities. In the maritime sector, demand is rising and various LNG vessels are also under construction. The demand for LNG for seagoing vessels will increase in the coming years in the Flemish seaports, especially in Zeebrugge and Antwerp. LNG bunkering is now already possible in all Flemish seaports (Antwerp, Zeebrugge, Ghent and Ostend) via mobile installations. This technique is used regularly in Antwerp, Zeebrugge and Ghent.

 

Highlights NPF (date of adoption: November 2016; updated: February 2017)

Given the complex institutional context in Belgium, the Regions of Belgium (i.e. Flemish Region, Walloon Region & Brussels-Capital Region) are competent for most aspects of Directive 2014/94. Accordingly, the national policy framework consists of Regional NPFs and a Federal NPF. Estimates for AF vehicle fleets 2020 are provided for EVs (88,000 of which 74,700 in Flanders) and CNG cars (43,000 of which 41,200 in Flanders). 

The Flemish Action Plan, approved by the Flemish Government, focuses primarily on a breakthrough for electric vehicles (including fuel cell vehicles) and also offers opportunities to vehicles and vessels running on natural gas and shore-side electricity to develop. 

Wallonia has currently not taken a position on possible targets for vehicles and related infrastructure. The Walloon action framework will focus principally on a ‘business as usual’ (BAU) scenario. The choice of a BAU scenario is based on Wallonia's socio-economic realities, geographical context and potential related to the type of mobility. 

The Brussels Capital Region (BCR) is facing important challenges in improving local air quality. In addition, the BCR also wishes to encourage the use of alternative fuels, and especially electricity. The BCR does not however wish to lose sight of the fact that the replacement of vehicles by electric or CNG vehicles is not a solution to the other nuisance they cause, such as congestion, occupation of space, traffic accidents, etc.

Electricity: At present, electricity offers the best prospects in the search for low-carbon, environmentally-friendly mobility by 2050, certainly in combination with renewable sources of energy (Flanders region). To stimulate the transition towards electric transport, the BCR has already taken different measures, e.g. quota on electric cars in the public fleets, financial support for small and medium-sized enterprises to purchase hybrid, electric and fuel cell vehicles, electric taxis, etc. The public transport company in the BCR (STIB – MIVB) is also preparing the transition towards electric buses, following a test period with 3 fully electric bus lines. Shore-side electricity (SSE or OPS) for shipping is available in a number of ports for seagoing vessels and inland ships, for example the port of Brussels targets 3 installations for SSE.

Hydrogen: Fuel cell vehicles in theory and in the future present a number of the advantages of battery electric vehicles, but without the limited driving distance. In practice, the technology must become cheaper and it is important whether hydrogen can be produced in an environmentally friendly manner. 

CNG: can in the meantime contribute to ensuring that the fleet rapidly becomes more environmentally friendly and is also more easily applicable for larger vehicles and vessels (trucks, ships, etc.). CNG for cars is besides electric vehicles the only AF where vehicles estimates and ambitions are mentioned. 

LNG: As regards LNG in road and inland waterway transport, Wallonia will mainly rely on calls for tender within the framework of the Trans-European Transport Network’s Connecting Europe Facility. LNG refuelling is planned for all maritime ports in the TEN-T Core Network and several inland ports. Furthermore, at least 2 LNG refuelling points for heavy-duty vehicles are targeted in the ports of Antwerp and Oostende.