Brussels, 3 December 2020 – From 1 January 2021, the kilometer charge must be paid for Heavy Goods Vehicles with a maximum permitted weight of over 3.5 tons and semi-trailer towing vehicles of category N1 with body code BC when they are driven in Belgium with a V professional plate, a Z dealer plate or a UA national plate. On public roads, they must be driven with an On Board Unit (OBU) switched on. HGVs and semi-trailer towing vehicles with a Y test drive plate are excluded from the kilometer charge, provided that very specific conditions are met.
On 1 January, the amended legislation on Belgian commercial – the so-called ‘green’ – number plates will come into force. Four new number plates will be introduced to replace the current ZZ test drive plates and Z dealer plates: a professional plate, a dealer plate, a test drive plate and a national plate. The four plates have a white background and a moss green letter-number combination.
What is important for owners of trucks with a maximum permitted weight of over 3.5 tons and semi-trailer towing vehicles of category N1 with body code BC is the impact that the new regulations will have on the kilometer charge for trucks. From 1 January, only trucks with a test drive plate will not be subject to the kilometer charge. Trucks with one of the other three number plates will be required to have an activated OBU on board on Belgian roads.
The test drive plate falls outside the scope of the kilometer charge
The new test drive plate will be valid for one year, from 1 January to 31 December. It is intended for test drives with a view to European or national approval of vehicles, systems, components and technical units of vehicles. It starts with a Y, followed by three letters and three numbers. Manufacturers, research centers of higher education institutions, organizers of test drives with autonomous vehicles and companies that perform tests on components or systems will be able to apply for the test drive plate.
These vehicles must not transport any cargo. Only then will the truck or semi-trailer towing vehicle with the test drive plate not be subject to the kilometer charge. The owner can register that the vehicle is used exclusively for these purposes. The declaration form can be found at https://www.viapass.be/en/testdrive/
Professional plates, dealer plates and national plates
Like the new test drive plate, the professional, dealer and national licence plates have a white background and moss green letter-number combination.
A professional plate (e.g. V-AAA-001) is intended for bodywork manufacturers and vehicle repairers. They can use the number plate for a maximum of five – not necessarily consecutive – days per year for one vehicle, for example to have it inspected after a repair. The plate is valid for one year, until 31 December.
A dealer plate (e.g. Z-AAA-001) is intended for wholesale and retail traders of vehicles. They can use the licence plate for the promotion and sale of vehicles. This plate is also valid for one year, until 31 December.
The national plate (e.g. UA-21-AAA) will be valid for 20 consecutive calendar days. Natural or legal persons can use it to deliver a vehicle or drive it to the technical inspection.
Trucks and semi-trailer towing vehicles with a professional, dealer or national number plate must have an activated OBU on board on Belgian roads from 1 January 2021.
Checks and fines
The inspection bodies for the kilometer charge of the three regions will closely monitor whether the number plates are being used correctly. In the event of non-compliance, the usual fines of 100, 500, 800 or 1,000 euros will apply, depending on the seriousness of the violation.
Viapass is an interregional public organization. The government body controls and coordinates the kilometer charge for trucks over 3.5 tons, which has been in force in Belgium since 1 April 2016. Since 1 January 2018, the kilometer charge has also been applied to semi-trailer towing vehicles of category N1 with body code BC. Viapass checks the operationality of the kilometer charge and the proper functioning of the infrastructure. The organization also ensures that the money and data flows run correctly, takes care of the coordination between the service providers and is responsible for joint communication about the kilometer charge by the three regional governments. More info at www.viapass.be