The Brussels-Capital Region is gearing up for the installation of charging points in car parks
The number of electric vehicles is increasing every year and by 2035 all newly manufactured cars in Europe will need to be electric. To ensure there are sufficient charging points for all electric cars in the Belgian capital, the Government for the Brussels-Capital Region issued a decree on 29 September 2022 determining the ratios of charging points existing and new car parks must have, as well as certain additional safety conditions that apply (“Ratios Decree”). The Ratios Decree entered into force on 13 November 2022.
1. Scope of application
This Ratios Decree applies to all off-streetcar parks subject to an environmental permit. In the Brussels-Capital Region, a class 2 environmental permit is required to operate a car park with 10 - 50 parking spaces, a class 1B permit is required to operate a car park with 51 - 400 parking spaces and a class 1A permit is required to operate a car park with more than 400 parking spaces.
2. Obligation of charging point ratios for car parks
Depending on the type of building and how old it is, the recharge point ratios vary, and the number of recharge points required increases over time.
For existing office car parks, the ratio should be:
- by 10% (with a minimum of 2 charging points) by 1 January 2025;
- by 20% by 1 January 2030; and
- by 30% by 1 January 2035.
For existing residential car parks, by 1 January 2025, the ratio will be one charging point per parking space for residents who have access to parking and have an electric vehicle. A charging point must be installed within a reasonable time frame after the resident has notified that they have an electric vehicle.
For existing public car parks (i.e. car parks for shops, hospitals, etc.) the ratio must be:
- by 5% (with a minimum of 2 charging points) by 1 January 2025;
- by 10% (with a minimum of 2 charging points) by 1 January 2030; and
- by 20% on 1 January 2035.
For the purpose of calculating these ratios, a charging point with a power of 50 kW or more counts as five charging points and a charging point with a power of 150 kW or more counts as 10 charging points.
For new car parks that are not residential, the ratio must immediately correspond to the ratios applied on 1 January 2035. A new car park is defined as “a car park that has not yet been authorized by an environmental permit or that was not covered by an environmental permit that expired less than 2 years ago, or for which the application for a permit was submitted after the entry into force of this Decree and that does not undergo, after the entry into force of this Decree, any major renovation”.
However, where the car park is used for mixed purposes, i.e. more than one purpose, the applicable ratios are to be applied on a pro-rata basis (and not in accordance with a percentage as explained above). In the case of shared spaces, the highest ratio applies.
3. Derogation from the ratios
According to the Ratios Decree, derogations from the ratios may apply. The issuing authority may grant a derogation from the applicable ratios in case of technical impossibility or exorbitant cost.
In addition, the installation of charging points is prohibited when the car park has a vehicle lift, but, on the advice of the fire service, an exemption to this prohibition may be granted.
4. Security measures in car parks
The Ratios Decree stipulates, in addition to the safety measures already provided in the general and specific conditions of operation of car parks, the placement of charging points must comply with the following requirements in all car parks:
- the recharge point must be installed on a non-combustible or fire-resistant surface;
- the vehicle must be recharged at designated recharging points;
- the electrical installations must be sized to support vehicle charging and must have been inspected by an approved body defined within the "RGIE” (“Royal Decree of 10 March 1981 making the General Regulations on Electrical Installations mandatory for domestic installations and certain electrical energy transport and distribution lines”/“Arrêté royal du 10 mars 1981 rendant obligatoire le Règlement général sur les installations électriques pour les installations domestiques et certaines lignes de transport et de distribution d’énergie électrique”);
- charging points should be equipped with physical protection or be placed high enough to avoid potential damage by a vehicle but should remain accessible to people with reduced mobility.
For covered car parks, the placement of charging points is also subject to the following requirements:
- the use of any charging point with a power output of 50 kW or more is prohibited unless the environmental permit exempts it, with the advice of the fire service;
- unless an exemption is provided in the environmental permit (e.g. in case of technical impossibility), an emergency stop button must be placed near each entrance to the car park in order to switch off all charging points in case of fire or accident;
- where an automatic fire detection system is installed in an underground car park, the power supply to the charging points should automatically cut off in the event of a fire;
- charging areas must be ventilated by a system that allows the air in the car park to be renewed every three hours;
- a legible, visible and scaled map showing the locations of the charging points should be placed at the entrance and exit of the car park.
However, additional conditions apply in the case of covered car parks with a surface area of more than 1,250 m² and/or with levels lower than the first level, which is mainly located below the level of the road giving access to the car park, namely:
- the installation and operation of a fire detection system with smoke detectors must be insured; and
- the transmission of a fire alarm signal and a fault signal in accordance with the provisions of section 5.3 of NBN S21-100-1. The fire service must always be notified in the event of a confirmed detection.
5. Control and sanction
The number of charging points is declared annually to the distribution network operator by the holder of the environmental permit governing the car park.
A criminal fine of EUR 500 – EUR 200,000 or an administrative fine of EUR 50 – EUR 62,500 may be imposed on the legal person who contravenes the provisions of the Ratios Decree.
From 1 January 2025, Brussels Environment will report every three years on compliance with the obligations relating to the ratios of charging points for car parks, as explained above in point 2. This report will include at least a complete inventory of the charging infrastructure installed in car parks and an analysis of the opportunity to revise them in line with the needs of electric vehicle users.
 « Decree of the Government of the Brussels-Capital Region dated 29 September 2022 determining the ratio of charging points for car parks, as well as certain additional safety conditions that apply” / “Arrêté du 29 septembre 2022 du Gouvernement de la Région de Bruxelles-Capitale déterminant les ratios de points de recharge pour les parkings, ainsi que certaines conditions de sécurité supplémentaires y applicables” / « Besluit van de Brusselse Hoofdstedelijke Regering van 29 september 2022 tot vaststelling van de verhouding van de oplaadpunten voor parkings evenals bepaalde bijkomende veiligheidsvoorwaarden die van toepassing zijn ».
 “Decree of the Government of the Brussels-Capital Region dated 25 February 2021 laying down the general and special operating conditions applicable to car parks” / “Arrêté du Gouvernement de la Région de Bruxelles-Capitale du 25 février 2021 fixant des conditions générales et spécifiques d'exploitation applicables aux parkings” / “Besluit van de Brusselse Hoofdstedelijke Regering van 25 februari 2021 tot vaststelling van de algemene en bijzondere uitbatingsvoorwaarden van toepassing op parkings”.
Gerald Van Walle