Eight Cities and Municipalities have recently signed a pledge committing to fossil free heating by 2050 and transitioning away from the use of gas or fuel oil. These local authorities are leading Flanders today towards a future based on renewable heating.
They will focus on decreasing the heat demand in their regions by
- insulating all buildings
- deploying heating networks
- heating households that can’t be connected to heating networks with a heat pump.
To be successful in this challenge, they are asking the Flemish Government to support a clear trajectory, away from gas and fuel oil.
Each one of the signatories, including Stad Mechelen and the City of Bruges, champion sustainable heating in Flanders. This means that they actively support citizens to live energy-efficient and fossil free lifestyles. They are already implementing Heating Network projects in their regions and have a Heat Policy, or are in the process of formulating one to transition away from the use of gas and fuel oil. The Flemish Government Agreement have some guidelines on how to operate more sustainably but this transformation is in no way fast enough to achieve a fossil free Flanders; Even more is needed.
They call on the Flemish Government to:
- Shift taxes from electricity to gas and fuel oil to make heat pumps and heating networks competitive
- Provide clarity how Flanders will realise the heating of all buildings without gas or fuel oil by 2050, communicating clearly and giving local authorities direction on implementation.
- Support families, companies and local authorities to transition from gas and fuel oil.
More than 90% of the dwellings in Flanders are heated with gas or fuel oil. To reach a net zero emission of CO2 by 2050, about 100,000 households will have to opt for renewable heat every year. Bond Beter Leefmilieu, an organisation that enhances the voice of sustainable front runners, calls Flanders to follow the example of the local authorities who have signed this pledge, to use their influence and to provide adequate social flanking measures. Only then will be feasible for everybody to say ‘Goodbye’ to gas and fuel oil.