Lydia Peeters, Flemish minister of diesel fraud

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A particulate filter is an essential, mandatory component that greatly reduces the particulate matter emissions from diesel cars. Every diesel has been equipped with it since 2011. After roughly 150,000 km, it is due for replacement. Cost: 2 to 3000 euros. Although you can have it cleaned for about 500 euros. Of course, garage owners prefer to sell new ones. But they are costs, and in addition, such a diesel runs more clearly without a filter in the exhaust pipe. That inspires quite a few car owners to the idea to…

A particulate filter is an essential, mandatory component that greatly reduces the particulate matter emissions from diesel cars. Every diesel has been equipped with it since 2011. After roughly 150,000 km, it is due for replacement. Cost: 2 to 3000 euros. Although you can have it cleaned for about 500 euros. Of course, garage owners prefer to sell new ones. But they are costs, and in addition, such a diesel runs more clearly without a filter in the exhaust pipe.

That inspires quite a few car owners to the idea to just take it out. Certain professionals openly advertise this illegal intervention. Research institutes such as the renowned Dutch TNO mention 6% diesel cars that chug around without such a mandatory particulate filter. For Belgium that would be about 165,000 cars (figures from the VAB, Peeters himself speaks of “a few”). Knowing our “citizenship”, there are probably a lot more. They also drive effortlessly through the LEZ zones because they are okay on paper.

Fine dust, mainly nitrogen oxides, penetrates deep into the lungs, bloodstreams and heart, is a carcinogen and an absolute air pollutant. Every year, 2 500 people die prematurely in Belgium from particulate matter intoxication. Across Europe, it is roughly estimated to be more than 450,000 premature deaths. In addition, recent research points to a link between particulate matter and corona sensitivity.

The previous minister of mobility, Ben Weyts, was aware of the problem and had new devices tested in the inspection centers to detect those cars that emit a thousand times more particulate matter than allowed. That system is now underway, but his successor, Lydia Peeters, wants to turn back the clock, thinks this is “rule-making” and wants to wait until Europe issues a directive. That could take another five years. What is it about Mrs. Peeters? This is similar to …

… A minister who does not want to govern

Lydia Peeters, the minister who does not want to govern.

Liberals that govern are a split in themselves. Of course they want power, like any party, but once they are in power, they find themselves at the helm of a ship, it has been said, which should only exist in a very slim, minimal form.

That is why they usually deliver flamboyant politicians, but few good administrators. In the still running mouth mask soap, a mixture of sloppiness, nepotism and a preference for shipping with shady businessmen, we find ministers of invariably the same party in the lead. Namely Maggie De Block and Philippe De Backer. The second has been urged to cover up the first’s blunders, or to keep his finger in the leak, to stay in ship terms. Corona has shown what these kind of liberal thinking and acting managers are worth: nothing.

Ope Vld himself is hopelessly adrift, which is why outgoing chairman Gwendolyn Rutten always wanted to focus on government participation, the question of surviving politically and concealing the wasps’ nest. Unfortunately, since Noël Slangen as a spin doctor (also the name Open Vld is a find from him) learned that everything revolves around perception, the party has completely lost its way and has transferred almost all of the ideological capital to the N-VA, which thankfully received it. Open VLD politicians are, more than others, mainly concerned with themselves, which is also evident in the current election of presidents

The non-governance of Lydia Peeters is an extension of this impasse. She wants to be a minister, but without any policy responsibility, because then it is called “rule-making.” So chug without that filter, live joyful freedom, with the motto:

“What we do ourselves, we do better”

At the beginning of last year, Ben Weyts proudly presented the new measuring equipment. Now she is collecting dust.

“I think we should align with Europe.” With that terrible gallicism “aligning”, the minister indicates that Europe should solve it. It is a silly excuse for not having to do anything, but it is also a signal that we must, in particular, walk in the European stride and grind the EU bureaucracy. While I would just like to see Flanders as a model state-in-the-cap in the forefront and shows that it can shell its own beans, without a Belgian or European mother-in-law.

In other words, it is a textbook example of narrow mindedness and a lack of ambition: we cut a lousy figure here and show that we are not ready for real self-government. The devices already delivered are now collecting dust, the rest of the order has been canceled. The inspection centers and the VAB (our largest motorists’ association) are the requesting parties, but the minister concerned does not want to denounce the fraudsters. Wallonia and Brussels are rolling out the system, which creates the absurd situation that some of those creative people will go to Flemish inspection stations to get their green card. Flanders, a region where everything is possible and which politically facilitates crime. For example, Flanders may gradually become Kazakhstan on the North Sea.

The most obvious disadvantages of the private voting chronology come up again here, in a country with too many elections and a periodic chair dance around ministerial posts. What one minister rolls out, the other – from a competing party – throws in the bottom slide in a subsequent legislature. Lack of vision, short-term politics and the need to serve a niche audience just as quickly characterizes this type of politician, who would be better limited to driving a car, and then even more. And I realize that there are quite a few of those pimped-up pimp bins driving around in the deep Limburg, purely by chance.

“We do not initially assume that people would not intentionally remove or destroy a particulate filter?” She commented. Research points to something else, Lydia, and you know it damn well: there is widespread practice, and it’s an industry in itself. If you do not intervene as a minister, you are simply negligent. Or perhaps we speak of guilty absenteeism in such a matter of life or death? What we do ourselves, do we do better? Unfortunately.

If Wallonia or Brussels surpasses us in terms of health and quality of life, we really have a problem. Wondering if Ben Weyts, now relocated to education, would not be able to throw some questions at his feet, colleague Peeters at sufficient social distance. In contrast to that damn virus, we have perfect control over this.



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