On Friday July 29th, the federal ombudsman responsible for Belgium’s national airport at Zaventem, Philippe Touwaide, announced that he has made a complete mapping of the areas overflown by aircraft taking off and landing, runway by runway, with radar tracking. The goal was to create a dossier with the nuisances due to air traffic.
Touwaide told the Belgian newspaper De Morgen that a low-emission zone would ensure that most polluting and noisy planes would be banned from the airport. Low-emissions zones are already in force in cities such as Brussels in order to reduce pollution from cars and other motor vehicles there.
We need to look more closely at the type of aircraft used and opt for less noisy or polluting aircraft.Philippe Touwaide, federal ombudsman responsible for Brussels Airport
In the context of the multiple waves of protest in the afore mentioned dossier, the noise register imposed by the Council of Ministers in 2003 was never carried out. It was the so-called flight dispersion plan submitted by Minister Bert Anciaux.
According news outlet VRT, Touwaide noted that there are more breaches of noise nuisance regulations at Zaventem than at airports in neighboring countries. “Other airports are taking measures and that is why airlines are sending loud and polluting aircraft that are banned there to Zaventem. But Brussels Airport must not be the wastebasket for the other airports.”
Brussels Airport’s spokeswoman Ihsane Lekhli stated that according to data held by the airport, “higher tax levels are having an effect. Airlines are using this kind of aircraft less and less.”
You cannot ask airlines to completely renew their fleet within five years. That is simply not possibleIhsane Lekhli, Brussels Airport’s spokeswoman
Touwaide has thus proposed the establishment of a low-emission zone for Zaventem, which could address the issue of polluting noise generated by aircraft in and around Brussels. Without going so far as to map the noise perceived on the ground, which is an exclusive competence of the Regions, the Federal Mediation Service has drawn up a complete map of the areas overflown.
The ombudsman’s dossier contains maps of the number of overflights per zone; the number of overflights per runway; a breakdown of overflights on take-off via runway 25 right; the overall use of runways since 1996; the annual evolution of runways since 1995; annual traffic figures since 1947; cargo volume figures since 1947; night flights since 1982. Also the number of inhabitants and population density of the municipalities overflown, the individual aircraft noise level, and the maximum individual take-off weight of the aircraft.
According to VRT, Brussels Airport has stated that it already imposes higher levels of airport taxes on polluting aircraft, which wind up paying up to three times the normal rate. In a new proposal, the airport has laid forward the possibility of increasing the tax 20 times.