No regional agreement yet on aircraft noise limits

Summary

A committee made up of representatives from The Flemish and Capital regions did not come to an agreement on the new noise level measures for aircraft taking off from Brussels Airport

Cross-border impact

The governments of Flanders and Brussels have been unable to reach an agreement over the latter’s strict new limits on aircraft noise. Flanders argues the new limits simply push flights taking off from and landing at Brussels Airport over the Flemish periphery, while Brussels insists the limits are needed for the quality of life of its residents.

At the end of last year, Flanders lodged a complaint of conflict of interest – a mechanism that allows one region to challenge a measure introduced by another if it feels its own interests are being compromised. Earlier this week, the regional consultative committee, which is made up of representatives of the federal government and the regions, discussed the issue, but no compromise has yet been reached.

The conflict of interest move meant that Brussels’ measures could not be implemented on 1 January as planned. The new levels are suspended for 60 days, with prime minister Charles Michel calling the parties back to the table next month.

The two sides, however, also disagree on when the 60-day embargo started: Brussels started the clock on 23 December, when the objection was filed; Flanders started counting on Tuesday, when the first meeting of the committee took place.

Flemish mobility minister Ben Weyts promised his government would “exhaust every judicial possibility” to combat the Brussels plan. If no agreement can be reached by the end of the 60-day term – whenever it starts – the measures will simply come into force by default. 

Photo: Siwtme/Wikimedia