Protecting Schaerbeek and the whole of Brussels from air pollution

PRESS RELEASE dd. 2016-02-19

In the current context of air pollution, which has a considerable impact on the inhabitants of Brussels, especially in summer, and in particular on Evere, Schaerbeek and the 2 Woluwés, we have waited in vain for the Federal Minister for Mobility to implement structural solutions likely to resolve this problem.

On the contrary, Vliegwet’s rumors point to a worsening situation.

In any case, once the date of 13/6 has passed, it will be difficult for both the Region and the Brussels communes to call on the federal government to implement the measures included in the motion of the Conference of Mayors last October (no overflight of densely populated areas, limitation of night flights, creation of a neutral air-trajectory control authority, etc.).

EU regulation 598/2014, which will come into force on June 13, is likely to freeze once and for all the procedures and flight routes that are the source of the unbearable noise nuisance for residents of Schaerbeek and other municipalities.

However, article 5 of the decree of the Brussels-Capital Region Government relating to the fight against noise generated by air traffic of 27/5/1999 stipulates that

“At the end of an adaptation period set by the government, the limit values per passage and per period are automatically adapted in accordance with the following table (in dB):

Current situation

Zone 0 day 80 night 70
Zone 1 day 90 night 80
Zone 2 day 100 night 90

Future situation

Zone 0 day 75 night 70
Zone 1 day 85 night 75
Zone 2 day 90 night 80 ”

Not only has this adaptation never been carried out, but the lowering of these thresholds would be very useful in implementing the motion of the conference of burgomasters.

The standards were set in 1999.Since then, the technological evolution of aviation has led to the construction of more efficient aircraft with fewer but more powerful engines, which generate a totally different type of noise, one that is more insidious, with lower noise peaks but a much longer period of emitted noise.

As a result, the provisional standards of 1999 no longer correspond to the reality of noise levels perceived when flying over the municipal territory, and the transitional period that has lasted for over 15 years should be brought to an end in order to set definitive, stricter standards.

Similarly, the commune of Schaerbeek would like the decree of 5/27/1999 to include a coercive provision that takes into account the frequency of noise pollution. Clearly, the repetitive nature of the noise (overflights every 2 minutes between 6 and 7 in the morning, for example) penalizes local residents even more than isolated noises.

For the record, Schaerbeek and the 2 Woluwés are in zone 1, while Evere and part of Woluwés are in zone 2.

In short, we urgently need to take action and implement a “0 tolerance” policy towards airlines with regard to noise pollution.

With this in mind, on 16/2/2016 the College wrote to Ms Frémault, Regional Minister for the Environment, asking her to adapt noise standards to the new situation.

It’s time to protect the safety, health and quality of life of the people of Schaerbeek and Brussels!

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