Flemish government rejects study on Brussels Airport noise pollution

The Flemish government does not agree with a recently finished environmental impact study on the noise pollution caused by Brussels Airport, ordered in 2017 by the the Belgian federal government, De Standaard newspaper reports on Monday.

French consultancy agency Envisa put forward nine possible scenarios to fairly distribute the nuisance across the territories of the Flemish and Brussels Regions. On behalf of the Flemish Government, N-VA (Flemish nationalist party) ministers Zuhal Demir and Ben Weyts officially protested the conclusions of the study in a letter to federal Mobility minister Georges Gilkinet (Ecolo, green party).

Both ministers believe the study does not meet the objective of a "fair distribution of the burden", as laid down in the Flemish coalition agreement.

"In seven of the nine scenarios, the nuisance is shifted to or even concentrated over the Flemish Region", says Michaël Devoldere, spokesman for Ben Weyts, minister of the 'Flemish periphery' around Brussels. Minister for the Environment Demir and her colleague Weyts believe the study does not meet the objective of a "fair distribution of the burden", as laid down in the Flemish coalition agreement. According to the ministers, the extensive list of comments made by Flanders at the request of Envisa was not taken into account. "The present study (can) not form the basis for taking a supported decision on the airport dossier with respect for all interests in a proportionate manner", reads the conclusion of their letter.

With the Flemish government's opposition, Envisa's work might have to go back to the drawing boards for a second time. A first version was already rejected by the court in 2019 following a complaint by the Brussels Region. The Flemish government does not want to go that far and advocates further consultation. "However, if one stubbornly continues and carelessly ignores the Flemish proposals and concerns", Weyts tells De Standaard , "we will indeed have to take legal action."





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