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    State faces 270,000-euro penalty for noise pollution by planes

    © Belga
    © Belga

    Brussels Environment Minister Céline Fremault (cdH) announced on Tuesday that she has decided to fine the Federal Government 270,000 euros for excessive noise pollution by airplanes in March. The decision relates to increased noise infractions compared to 2017, defined as a reference year in a 1st of February ruling by the Brussels lower court. That ruling banned any increase in the number of infractions of the Brussels Noise Decree of 27 May 1999, between 11.00 p.m. and 07.00 a.m., for departures by the Canal Road and the Ring Road, and landings on Airstrip 01. It added that comparisons would be done monthly to detect changes in traffic linked mainly to vacation periods or seasons.

    In March 2019, there were 27 more infractions than in March 2017.

    Brussels’ residents have been subjected to “noise pollution by planes at full force in recent weeks, particularly during the Easter holidays,” the minister commented, saying that she had received many complaints from capital residents about the “inertia of the federal” government over the past five years.

    She recalled that to encourage the federal government to take up its responsibilities, she had filed for many prohibitory injunctions in 2016 and 2018 for the Noise Ordinance and the sleep of Brussels residents to be respected. These injunctions were granted by courts in July 2017 and February 2019.

    “It’s time for the law to be respected,” Fremault said, stressing that penalties would be charged “every month for 18 months if the federal government does not comply with the ruling.”

    She also recalled that the Brussels lower court had confirmed in early February that the Federal Government was obliged to produce a noise-impact report on the activities of Brussels Airport by 3 June 2019 and was liable to a fine of 300,000 euros for each month that it remained outstanding.

    “To this day, neither my office nor my administration nor the communes have had the least contact with the service provider, Envisa, or with the Federal Government for the most important chapter of this study, which needs to propose recommendations for the way forward,” the regional environment minister said.

    She stressed that she was “deeply concerned about both the substantive issues and the delays.”

    Oscar Schneider
    The Brussels Times