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Ixelles doubles number of fines for noise pollution

08:07 27/02/2024

The number of fines handed out by the municipality of Ixelles for noise pollution have doubled since 2018, according to new figures.

Ixelles said that it was aiming to keep the balance between nightlife and the peace of neighbourhoods where families live by imposing various measures.

Between 2018 and 2022, the number of fines issued for noise in private homes went up from 94 to 206 pear year, the municipality said. For companies in the hospitality sector - cafes, bars and restaurants - fines for noise nuisance increased from 37 to 71 per year.

Ixelles said more action was being taken to combat noise pollution and prevent situations where fines have to be issued. "As noise has been punished more effectively, victims are also more likely to file complaints," it said.

During the day, complaints have not gone up. Indeed, they went down from 59 in 2018 to 33 in 2022. In addition, in these four years, only three writs were given calling the culprits to court and ending up in a closure order.

To combat noise pollution and promote consultation over complex cases, the commune has relied on mediation, on a night-time noise ban - from 22.00 until 7.00 unless the noise is explicitly authorised - and on Ixelles’ night patrol teams and its night council.

For example, Ixelles mayor Christos Doulkeridis (Ecolo) said a bill had been passed so that the Abbaye de la Cambre gardens are closed from 23.00 to 6.00, “to avoid impromptu parties” in the grounds.

In addition, the 30km/h speed limit has helped cut traffic noise and exceptions to the rule banning public works at night are rarely granted.

“Due to Ixelles’ special character we have to tackle this problem proactively,” Doulkeridis added. “We want to preserve the two most important aspects of Ixelles’ identity: a wide range of entertainment venues and neighbourhoods that welcome families and where life is good.”

One way of doing so is through meetings of the night council, first set up in 2019 for the Place Flagey neighbourhood.

This body is made up of representatives of evening venues such as cinemas or nightclubs, the police, commune workers and people representing different neighbourhoods and residents.

The council gets together regularly to find out ways to combat noise and manage terrace noise levels. At the last meeting, in December, Brussels Environment experts gave its views on noise and on how it spreads in the city.

Written by Liz Newmark