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Brussels airport noiseplan ‘making matters worse’

Published on 24/05/2004

24 May 2004

BRUSSELS – A controversial government plan designed to reduce noise pollution caused by aircraft using Zaventem airport outside of Brussels is actually making the problem worse, a coalition of residents groups said on Monday.

The group of eight local residents’ associations, who claim to represent around 80 percent of people living near to Zaventem, said that the government noise reduction plan meant more people now suffered from noise pollution than before.

The controversial plan has been drawn up by Belgian Transport Minister Bert Anciaux.

It is extremely complex, but essentially tries to reduce the noise problem by directing aircraft in and out of Zaventem on a larger number of routes.

The idea was to lessen the noise burden on people living under the airport’s old flight paths.

But, say the residents groups, what it has actually done is spread aircraft noise over a much wider area.

The protestors say the government will never solve the problem unless it grabs the bull by the horns and reduces the number of aircraft allowed to use Zaventem, especially at night when noisy ‘planes cause particular annoyance.

But the government is worried that if it did that, Zaventem’s popularity would decrease, threatening thousands of local jobs.

International courier firm DHL has already hinted that it may close its extensive operations at Zaventem if it is not allowed to increase the number of night flights it operates in and out of the airport.

[Copyright Expatica 2004]

Subject: Belgian news