Tervuren noisy night flight nightmares continue

Airplanetakingoff Zaventem Ec

Tervuren is unlikely to oppose continued night flights at Brussels Airport, Tervuren+  understands. Challenging the indefinite environmental permit for week-time night flights, issued by Flanders’ environment minister, is difficult for Tervuren’s mayor Marc Charlier, also from the same Flemish nationalist NV-A.

Among 13 organizations now challenging Brussels Airport’s unlimited permit for week-time night flights is Solidair Tervuren Overijse. Night flights cause serious sleep problems, especially over the summer months, increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease, the NGOs claim. Solidair Tervuren Overijse joined the legal battle initiated by the environmental organizations and residents’ groups, including Wake Up Kraainem and Milieusteunpunt Huldenberg. They want the Council for Permit Disputes to rule against Brussels Airport’s unlimited permit.

As the environmental permit for Brussels Airport was issued by a minister from the N-VA, the same party as current Tervuren mayor Marc Charlier, no opposition to the permit is expected to come from Tervuren’s town hall. Charlier also has more understanding for cargo flights, moonlighting by day as a senior manager at rail freight firm Lineas. And the party line is to ignore official advice from Flanders’s health department that called for a limit of 60dB at night that, if ever implemented, would effectively ban night flights and, the NV-A says, seriously harm Flemish economic interests.

No election impact

Tervuren+  understands that the legal procedure against the airport’s unlimited permit for night flights could also take up to a year. And little opposition is expected to come from town hall after Flemish parties agree on a new mayor, following elections in October. Tervuren’s other prominent contender for the €96k/yr mayoral post, ambitious Flemish liberal and lawyer Thomas Geyns, appears even more opposed to permit freezes. “More and more rules are being imposed at the expense of your freedom of choice to do what you want with your property,” said Thomas, when launching his electoral campaign.

If the unlimited permit is left unchallenged, Erik Grietens from Bond Beter Leefmilieu fears Brussels Airport will continue to grow. He calls out lax permit conditions that won’t protect residents against daytime and night noise let alone limit the climate impact.

Belgium’s federal health council has recently advocated phasing out night flights — on health grounds, of course. But the airport’s new permit contains few effective measures to limit noise pollution from night flights. The noisiest aircraft are only banned from landing or taking off between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. on weekends. This may cut some noise pollution for troublesome sleepers during weekend nights, but will leave untouched their sleepless workday nights.

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