A yes-no game has been going on for a long time between the governments of our country and the fuel oil sector. Stories like Rudy’s have certainly contributed to the realization that a solution really had to be found. “The worries that these people have to deal with should disappear by reimbursing their costs,” says Van der Straeten.
“The long-awaited soil remediation fund is coming. After 20 years, there is finally a solution for the 10,000 Belgians who are confronted with leaking fuel oil tanks and sky-high invoices, “said Van der Straeten.” The fuel oil sector agrees to the early establishment of the fund. Leaking tanks in vulnerable nature will be remediated as a matter of priority because that is where the environmental damage is greatest. More than 25 million liters of fuel oil have leaked into the soil in recent years. This is one of the largest silent natural disasters in our country that is now finally being dealt with. This historical pollution is finally being tackled. ”
The file was mainly stuck because the Flemish government no longer wants existing fuel oil installations to be replaced by new ones, the coalition agreement states that they must be replaced by natural gas. But because the fuel oil user co-pays the fund, there was doubt among the sector about the financing of the story. “We have now solved that problem because we are going to consult the sector every two years,” says Van der Straeten.
10,000 leaking fuel oil tanks
In total there are about 10,000 Belgians who have to deal with soil contamination from fuel oil. The costs for the clean-up are estimated at around 50,000 euros, and will amount to more than 250,000 euros and more if the groundwater is also polluted.
Van der Straeten: “Without a soil remediation fund, owners had to cough up the expensive invoice themselves, which meant that many leaks were not reported. Now that the fund is in place, this is an excellent thing for the many affected people who have a dizzying bill hanging over their heads. ”
Fuel oil user also pays
The fund is financed by the fuel oil sector, but also by fuel oil users. They will pay a small contribution to the fund on their bill, the minister says.
“For the fuel oil user, a contribution of 0.01 euros per liter is charged on his bill. The fund estimates that a maximum budget of 512 million euros will have to be available for 20 years for its operation, with an automatic shutdown of the heating system. collection upon reaching the amount. “
What does this mean for Rudy?
According to the minister, the sector also realizes that this fund is needed to help their own long-term customers and the first files could be submitted this year. But does that also mean that current files still have a chance?
“Because the fund works with retroactive effect, this will certainly be possible,” says Van der Straeten. “People whose remediation is currently underway or with whom it has been completed can submit their file as soon as the fund is operational. They are also eligible for reimbursement.”