Federal financial support for retrofitting freight wagons
Reducing noise pollution from rail freight transport causes significant costs for the sector. In this context, the federal government has set up a subsidy system to support the retrofitting of freight wagons to reduce their noise emissions. A budget of €2.180 million is available for this system for the period 2022-2023. This financial support is granted in accordance with the law of 20th May 2022 setting up the support for retrofitting wagons in order to reduce noise pollution from rail freight transport.
Basic principles of the support system
The support is calculated for the period between 1 January 2021 and 31 December 2022 on the basis of the distance travelled each year by wagons on the railway infrastructure. This distance is communicated to the administration by the railway infrastructure manager.
Only wagons that have been retrofitted after 1 November 2019 are eligible for support.
The retrofitting of a wagon as defined by law is the replacement of the cast iron brake blocks of this wagon with brake blocks listed in Article 188.8.131.52 or Appendix E of the Annex to Commission Regulation (EU) No 1304/2014 of 26 November 2014 on the technical specification for interoperability relating to the subsystem ‘rolling stock — noise’ amending Decision 2008/232/EC and repealing Decision 2011/229/EU.
Who is eligible for support?
The support system is primarily intended to provide direct support to wagon keepers who have incurred the cost of retrofitting their wagons. However, railway undertakings ensuring the traction of wagons may also apply for support with the agreement of keepers that have incurred the cost of retrofitting these wagons. In this case, these keepers must complete the form “F3 - Agreement of the wagon keeper”. This form must then be attached to the subsidy application file that railway undertakings will send to the administration.
How is the support amount calculated?
The support amount paid each year for a wagon is calculated by multiplying the annual support rate by the number of axles of the wagon concerned and by the number of kilometres travelled by the wagon on the railway infrastructure during the previous year.
The annual support rate is obtained each year by dividing the annual budget by the sum of axles-km travelled in the previous year by wagons registered in the administration’s register. This is capped at €0.040 per axle-km.
What is the maximum support amount?
The support amount allocated per wagon may not exceed €437 for an S-type wagon and €1,052 for an SS-type wagon.
The total amount of Belgian and foreign public support received for retrofitting a wagon may in no case exceed the limit of 50% of the costs incurred for retrofitting this wagon. This limit does not include any support received through the Connecting Europe Facility established by Regulation (EU) No 1316/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2013 establishing the Connecting Europe Facility.
How to get the support amount?
In order to get a support amount for a wagon, the applicant must first have the wagon registered in the administration's register. A wagon can only be registered in the administration's register by one applicant.
In order to get a support amount in 2022 on the basis of the kilometres travelled by a wagon in 2021, this wagon must be registered in the administration’s register before 16 August 2022.
In order to get a support amount in 2023 on the basis of the kilometres travelled by a wagon in 2022, this wagon must be registered in the administration’s register before 31 December 2022.
The registration of wagons is carried out using the following forms:
The F3 form only needs to be completed when support is applied for by a railway undertaking.
The completed forms should then be sent to the administration at email@example.com.
Inspections and controls
The administration will carry out inspections and controls. If these bring to light situations different from those declared which have distorted the calculation of the support amounts, the administration will correct the support amounts allocated to this beneficiary. If necessary, the beneficiary will be asked to repay the support amount.
Any questions regarding the support system can be sent to the following e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
In the F2 form, what should be entered in the column "Member State"?
In the "Member State" column of the F2 form, the country in which the wagon is registered (NVR) must be indicated.
My company's wagons are registered in the Belgian National Vehicle Register (NVR).
Is this enough to qualify for aid for retrofitting wagons?
No. Wagons must be registered in the register specifically set up for the support system for retrofitting of wagons.
This registration must be requested using the forms (F1, F2 and F3) available on the website of the FPS Mobility and Transport.
In addition, in order to be eligible for aid, applicants and their wagons must meet the requirements set out in the law of 20th May 2022 (link is external) setting up the support for retrofitting wagons in order to reduce noise pollution from rail freight transport.