CoBrACE tackles off-street parking spaces of businesses in the Brussels Capital Region

Yves Fonck - CoBrACE

“A suppression of 20.000 excess parking spots”, that’s the objective of the Brussels Air, Climate and Energy Management Code (CoBrACE). This off-street parking scheme targets the number of parking spots available at workplaces in the Brussels Capital Region. Employees are being discouraged from using the car to commute to work, thereby contributing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The off-street parking measure is embedded within the renewal- or extension procedures of the environmental permit(s) of businesses. That environmental permit imposes a maximal parking standard, depending on:

  • The floor space of the office building (m²)
  • The accessibility of the area by public transport: better public transport accessibility leads to higher costs per parking space.

If the number of parking spots belonging to an enterprise exceeds the threshold, a few options can be considered:

  • Eliminating the parking spots or change their use (e.g. bike parking)
  • Making the parking space available for public use (e.g. public parking or residential parking)
  • Maintaining the amount of parking spots and paying an environmental tax for each extra parking spot

The environmental tax is based on the accessibility zone in which the enterprise is located. The permit holder pays €450,00 per parking spot in zone A, €350,00 per parking spot in zone B and €250,00 per parking spot in zone C. The tax increases annually by 10% and revenues are earmarked for the climate fund. More detailed information concerning the zoning is available via this detailed map.

As all off-street parking spots belonging to office buildings are eligible, the Brussels Capital Region provides a free CoBrACE-facilitator to assist businesses in reaching the objectives of CoBrACE. The facilitator offers technical support, is in contact with the legislative administration and cooperates with the enterprises so that the environmental permit application meets the sustainable mobility and air quality standards.

In 2021, over 3000 off-streets parking spots were eliminated, more than 2000 parking spots changed of use and around 4500 permit holders chose to pay an environmental tax. Furthermore 13 companies are already in the loop, supported by the CoBrACE-facilitator, to remove 366 additional parking places soon.

Despite the programme being launched for several years, it seems to have gained momentum only recently. Let’s keep an eye on it via (only in NL/FR).