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Brussels region calls for stricter rules on airport noise

06:55 09/05/2023

As court cases regarding noise from Brussels Airport drag on for years, the Belgian capital’s environment minister is looking to “find a balance between the challenges for public health and for the economy”.

Alain Maron (Ecolo) believes the region of Flanders, where Brussels Airport is technically located, should look to the example of Schiphol airport in Amsterdam.

Because Brussels is a neighbouring region and its residents are affected by the noise pollution generated by the airport, the region's government is providing advice.

It has already sent a series of requests to the Flemish region with a view to the future environmental permit that the Brussels Airport Company (BAC) will apply for from Flanders. Brussels Airport's current environmental permit expires in mid-2024.

Maron is proposing an adjusted night flight period of 22.00 to 7.00, instead of its current 23.00 to 6.00.

The Brussels government agreed last week on the exact content of the requests, with unanimous support from both French and Dutch-speaking ministers.

Should their proposed new window for night flights not be met, Brussels wants the quotas on the maximum amounts of noise allowed to be tightened.

Other requests include limiting late departures and arrivals, ending night flights over certain areas and limiting the tonnage of aircraft allowed to fly over Brussels to 200 tonnes between the hours of 22.00 and 7.00.

Brussels also wants to see fewer older, noisier jets in airlines’ fleets and a ban on flights between two destinations less than six hours apart by train, both measures in line with targets to reduce noise pollution and regular pollution around the airport

According to the Brussels government, Flanders has the ability and authority to concretely limit noise pollution from operations at the airport.

Written by Helen Lyons