Flanders invokes conflict of interest against new Brussels Airport flight paths
The Flemish government cites a conflict of interest against the new flight routes to and from Brussels Airport in Zaventem. According to Flemish minister for the Periphery Ben Weyts, studies have shown that the recent adjustment of the routes has led to an increase in noise pollution in Flanders.
Residents of communities in the Flemish periphery, close to the border with the Brussels region, have experienced more noise from overflying aircraft in recent days. According to Walter Vansteenkiste, mayor of the town of Wemmel and chairman of the Airport Region Platform, new flight routes have been in place since 5 October.
Federal Mobility minister Georges Gilkinet told De Tijd that this was a technical adjustment and that the noise level had not changed. However, the Flemish environment department has noted that flight routes have shifted towards Flanders. In particular, the north and north-west of the Flemish periphery are more affected, both during the day and at night.
Weyts claims that the shift has taken place without intergovernmental consultation and that questions from Flanders to Gilkinet remain unanswered. The government has decided to invoke a conflict of interest before the Consultation Committee, Belgium's main intergovernmental body for discussing decisions by a government or parliament that harm the interests of another community or region. Weyts also intends to take legal action.
Conflicts over Brussels Airport have plagued Belgium for years. Earlier this year, the airport's expansion plans were criticised by mayors of outlying towns, who claimed that more flights would lead to increased traffic and noise. The lack of a Flemish nitrogen decree is also worrying: the airport is a major source of nitrogen pollution and its current environmental permit expires in 2024.
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