Brussels demands 770,000 euros from the State for airplane noise in May
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    Brussels demands 770,000 euros from the State for airplane noise in May

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    Brussels is demanding 770,000 euros in penalties from the Federal Government for exceeding the noise pollution limit in May 2018, outgoing regional Environment Minister Céline Fremault said on Tuesday.

    The attorney in charge of this issue has been officially mandated by the Region to seek the collection of the fines, which will be deposited in the Environment Protection Fund.

    In 2016 and 2018, the region filed suit against the Federal Government to force it to respect a 1999 Brussels ordinance setting limits to noise pollution by aircraft flying over the city. The courts ruled in favour of Brussels in July 2017 and February 2019.

    In its February decision, the lower Francophone court of Brussels imposed an 18-month ban on any increase in the number of infractions of the Brussels Noise Ordinance of 27 May 1999 on any given day, from 11.00 p.m. to 07.00 a.m., for all departures along the Canal route or Ring Road, and all landings on Runway 1.

    The ruling set 2017 as the reference point, on a monthly basis, for determining whether there have been increases, taking into account traffic fluctuations linked mainly to holidays or seasons.

    Since March last, Minister Fremault has been demanding payment of the penalties pursuant to the February ruling. The fines amounted to 270,000 euros in March and over 2.1 million euros in April.

    To enforce the ban, the ruling carries fines for “considerable infractions to the Brussels Noise Ordinance”. Such infractions may not be 5dB or more above the limit set by the Ordinance.  

    There were 77 more violations in May 2018 than in May 2017, Minister Frémault said. This translates into 770,000 euros in fines due by the Federal Government to its regional counterpart. The same will happen each month for an 18-month period starting in March 2019 if the State does not comply with the February 2019 decision, she warned.

    Oscar Schneider
    The Brussels Times