Post-Covid recovery brings back noise nuisance around Brussels airport

Post-Covid recovery brings back noise nuisance around Brussels airport
Credit: Belga

The resumption of air traffic to and from Brussels Airport is exposing area residents to increased noise pollution, a new report notes.

According to the annual report titled ‘Noise contours around Brussels Airport for the year 2022,’ published by the airport management company, the number of people living in noise-prone areas went up last year.

In 2022, some 78.326 people lived in areas exposed to noise levels of at least 55 decibels, a 53.2% increase compared to the previous year (51,119), aviation consultant To70 Belgium calculated.

According to an exposure-effect calculation, the number of “potentially very affected people” in 2022 in the 55 decibel range amounted to 11,744, an increase of 52.2% compared to 2021. However, this represents a decrease of 18.6% compared to 2019.

The most exposed municipalities in absolute terms are Machelen (2,557), Zaventem (2,039), Steenokkerzeel (1,587), the city of Brussels (mainly Haren) 1,554, Evere (1,237) and Kampenhout (635) with a total of 9,609 potentially very affected people, i.e., 81.8% of the total number.

Compared to 2019, it is mainly the municipalities to the south of the airport that have seen an increase in the number of potentially very affected people: Crainhem (from 400 in 2019 to 487 in 2022), Woluwe-Saint-Pierre (from 78 to 284) and Wezembeek-Oppem (from 302 to 401).

Conversely, compared to 2019, two municipalities are now outside the 55-decibel range: Grimbergen and Woluwe-Saint-Lambert.

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