Hopes rise in Zaventem noise dispute
7 September 2005
BRUSSELS — Brussels Prime Minister Charles Picqué is prepared to discuss the city’s noise pollution regulations for Zaventem Airport, offering hope a resolution to the dispute can be reached.
Picqué told VRT radio on Tuesday that Brussels’ noise pollution regulations should not hinder economic activities around the Belgian capital.
He also said the regulations should not thwart a resolution to the noise pollution dispute, newspaper ‘De Tijd’ reported.
“I think that Brussels residents are reasonable and that we shouldn’t apply noise regulations that will prevent economic activities around Brussels,” Picqué said.
Brussels’ noise pollution regulations are a hot potato in discussions around the future of Zaventem and the spreading of night-time and weekend flights.
In June, Brussels Environment Minister Evelyne Huytebroeck (green Ecolo) was backed by a Brussels Court of Appeal ruling giving legal weight to the city’s strict noise pollution regulations.
The federal government has until 15 October to find a solution, after which it will need to pay EUR 25,000 for every breach of the capital’s laws.
The court ruling was sharply criticised in Flanders, where no comparable noise pollution regulations exist. It is feared Brussels’ regulations will place the future of Zaventem Airport at threat.
Federal Transport Minister Renaat Landuyt also intervened in the affair, stressing that Brussels’ regulations would prevent any flight. He said if Flanders imposed the same restrictions, the airport would simply have to shut down.
Landuyt subsequently said Picqué’s statement on Tuesday was “a breakthrough”, but warned that his Ecolo colleague still needed to be convinced.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Belgian news