Brussels Environment minister appeals against airport permit

Brussels Environment minister Alain Maron is appealing against the environmental permit granted to Brussels Airport by Flanders, he said on Thursday. Not all of his colleagues agree, causing a rift in the Brussels government.

On 29 March, Flemish Environment minister Zuhal Demir granted a new environmental permit to Brussels Airport Company, the operator of the airport in Zaventem. There was no ban on night flights, as had been demanded by some organisations and municipalities.

Maron, of francophone green party Ecolo, believes the health of the region's residents has not been sufficiently taken into account. "Open VLD is changing its position within the Brussels government and ignoring the environment and the health of Brussels residents, despite a very broad consensus on the importance of an appeal," he said on Thursday.

Fractured government

Maron's decision has split the Brussels government, a coalition of green, socialist and liberal parties. Finance minister Sven Gatz, of liberal party Open VLD, believes Maron cannot appeal against the permit himself without the agreement of the Brussels government.

Gatz also insisted last week that the new permit is more balanced and better than the current one. "Something is being done about noise pollution (...) and environmental pollution," he said. He said the economic value of the airport for the Brussels region could not be ignored.



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