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Brussels aircraft noise complaints soar

Published on 16/04/2004

16 April 2004

BRUSSELS –  Complaints of noise nuisance from aircraft ascending over Brussels have soared despite the introduction in March of a wider spread of flight paths from the capital’s airport – which was intended to reduce the problem.

“The number of complaints has risen by 50 percent since the introduction on 18 March of the plan to disperse flights,” said Raf De Baerdemaeker, official mediator between local residents, the government and Brussels’ Zaventern airport authorities.

Unusually strong winds over the last weeks had often made it impossible to enact the full spread of flight paths as planned, he said.

Residents’ anger over the noise nuisance created in particular by night flights leaving Zaventern led last year a high profile legal and political campaign to force the government to reduce air traffic over the worts-affected northern districts of Brussels.

Belgium’s Court of Appeal in November found in favour of suits filed by several resdents’ associations and ruled that the flights should be dispersed, alleviating traffic over the north of the capital.

“Before, we would receive between 10 and 20 complaints per day,” De Baerdemaeker said, “now we’re at 30.” He said that the complaints came from residents of all of the districts lying around the airport.

De Baerdemaeker however said he was hopeful that the introduction of the final stages of steps to reduce the noise nuisance would soon take effect.

These include an enforced change in the angle at which aircraft take-off, from four degrees to seven, which came into effect Friday and which allows aircraft to gain height quicker.

A change in the runways used for departures will become effective from Saturday.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

                          Subject: Belgian news