Deadline nears for Brussels Airport permit: residents voice objections to growth plans

The deadline for Brussels Airport's new environmental permit application is less than three weeks away. With the deadline nearing, residents' groups from the area and environmental organisation Bond Beter Leefmilieu (BBL) are opposing a new permit. They want to draft a comprehensive objection against the company's "completely irresponsible plans".

Brussels Airport must submit an application for a new environmental permit, this time of unlimited duration, by 8 July this year. According to BBL, the airport seeks to pave the way for substantial growth, with 50 per cent more cargo traffic and 20 per cent more passengers by 2032. The projected increase would also see 40 per cent more trucks on the roads around the airport.

More than 100,000 people already suffer from severe sleep disturbance due to night-time flights, BBL's figures show. In addition, the organisation notes that "greenhouse gas emissions are rising at a steep rate, and aircraft are emitting more nitrogen oxides than all companies in the port of Antwerp combined".

Expansion plans on hold

Less than a month ago, the airport announced that previous expansion plans had been put on hold. "Our application for a new environmental permit will no longer include a new pier or runway," airport chief Arnaud Feist said.

However, cancelling the expansion plans does not mean the operator is not aiming for growth. More than 32 million passengers are expected each year by 2032, up from 26.4 million in the record year of 2019. The volume of cargo handled is expected to double to 1 million tonnes over the same period. "We are asking to reschedule our activities within the current infrastructure," Feist said.

A proposal by BBL and residents' groups states, among other things, that no jobs would be lost if short-haul flights were replaced by train journeys. Much of the cargo traffic could also fly during the day, they say. However, "for the benefit of foreign shareholders, they are putting the health of residents even more at risk," says Jasper Wouters of BBL.

'Unrealistic' and one-sided'

BBL and residents' groups have launched a fundraising campaign to survey the damage caused by air traffic and help map out the future of the airport itself.

In February this year, five mayors of Flemish municipalities in Brussels' northern periphery close to the airport already criticised the expansion plans, calling them "unrealistic" and "one-sided". They also denounced "incomplete figures" and "unclear forecasts" included in the now-cancelled expansion plans.





Related news:

Website preview
Brussels Airport no longer plans to expand
Expansion plans for Brussels Airport have been put on hold. "Our application for a new environmental permit will not include a new pier or runway," airport chief Arnaud Feist said on Wednesday. Until recently, the airport's operator had still been considering adding a new pier and a longer runway.
Website preview
Brussels Airport expansion: bordering municipalities denounce "shoddy" and "unrealistic" plans
In a joint press conference on Thursday, the five mayors of Brussels' northern periphery municipalities heavily criticised Brussels Airport's expansion plans. The municipalities, recognising the economic importance of the airport, called the plans "unrealistic" and one-sided. "If the airport is of general interest, the nuisance it causes should be borne by as many shoulders as possible", they said.
Website preview
Mobility minister wants solution for Brussels Airport noise
Federal mobility minister Georges Gilkinet (Ecolo) wants to see a proposal to deal with noise pollution at Brussels Airport on the table before the summer recess, he told TV channel BX1 on Thursday.

Get updates in your mailbox

By clicking "Subscribe" I confirm I have read and agree to the Privacy Policy.


Belga News Agency delivers dependable, rapid and high-quality information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from Belgium and abroad to all Belgian media. The information covers all sectors, from politics, economics and finance to social affairs, sports and culture, not to mention entertainment and lifestyle.

Every day, our journalists and press photographers produce hundreds of photos and news stories, dozens of online information items, plus audio and video bulletins, all in both national languages. Since the end of March 2022 English has been added as a language.

For public institutions, businesses and various organisations that need reliable information, Belga News Agency also offers a comprehensive range of corporate services to meet all their communication needs.


Arduinkaai 29 1000 Brussels