“I have not yet been officially informed,” Celine Frémault, Minister of the Environment in the Brussels regional government, said on Friday in connection with a move by the Flemish Government to invoke a conflict of interest against plans by Brussels to enforce noise pollution norms more strictly on aircraft using the Brussels National Airport. The Brussels region wishes to impose from the 1st of January next “zero tolerance” for noise above the norm caused by aircraft flying over the Belgian capital. Many airlines felt the measure would hurt them unduly and had appealed unsuccessfully to the Council of State in recent weeks.
The Government of Flanders, for its part, invoked a conflict of interest, causing the matter to be referred to the Consultative Committee, an institution chaired by the Prime Minister and made up of representatives of the federal government and the governments of the communities and regions. This meant automatically that the move by Brussels had to be frozen for 60 days, which should, in principle, be used to try to find a political solution.
Speaking on Friday at a plenary session of the Brussels parliament, Minister Frémault said the issue was also “not on the agenda of the next meeting of the consultative committee”, as is required by the rules of procedure.
“I am surprised by this incomprehensible procedure because the Council of State did say that the tolerance (that has reigned until now) needs to be done away with,” she added in reaction to the move by Flanders.
Ms. Frémault said she had “still not had any contact with the federal” government and that “at the preceding conflict-of-interest procedure, which had been introduced by the Brussels Region, it had been decided to set up working groups” but “they have never met”.