Belgian police cars deemed too dirty to enter cities

FILE PHOTO: Belgian police and military conduct a search in central Brussels following deadly Paris attacks, in Brussels, Belgium, November 22, 2015. REUTERS/Yves Herman/File Photo

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Belgium’s federal police have fallen foul of tighter emissions controls that entered force at the start of the year, with a number of its cars and vans now too dirty to enter the cities of Brussels, Antwerp and Ghent.

The police force said it did not have sufficient funds to renew its entire fleet of several thousand vehicles and had already warned the authorities of the risk.

A spokeswoman declined to say how many vehicles now failed to meet the stricter rules. Some exceptions have been made for certain cars clearly marked as for police use, such as those equipped with a blue flashing light and a siren, she added.

Other vehicles have been shifted to duties outside the major cities. Belgium also has local police forces, such as six covering the capital Brussels.

The European Union introduced rules in 1992 to tighten emissions from new cars, with an initial set of standards known as Euro 1.

Brussels, Antwerp and Ghent already had bans in place on the most polluting vehicles, but from the start of this year also barred the “Euro 3” standard, which covered vehicles registered from 2001 to 2005.

The standards relate to the emission of nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and particulates.

Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop; Editing by Gareth Jones