Mr. Anciaux, do you sleep well ?

Dear Mr. Minister,

we are a couple who moved to Belgium last year because of our work. For a few years already we have been saving some money to make our dream come true, to buy our own house. We spent 7-8 months looking for a house in quiet
residential area around Brussels, not too far from our work place, not to be in a traffic jam every day.

Last summer we finally found what we were looking for, in Wezembeek-Oppem. Having an air traffic control background we knew what buing a house over there could imply. We asked the people renting the house if they were disturbed by the planes. « Sometimes » they said, but « thanks to the winds they can not use that runaway (02/20) very often ».
We also asked our Belgian colleagues how the winds blow, and they all told us to rest assured, almost always from the west.

So we bought the house. During the autumn we heard for the first time about this famous « plan Anciaux » and we could not believe our ears. The papers were signed and the house paid so we could not cancel anymore.

Now we have been living in this house for 3 months and the last 2 have been inbearable. We have a little babygirl, 16 months, who is awaken by planes 6 nights a week. During daytime she cries because she is tired, she even falls asleep on the floor in the creche. When she goes for a nap at weekend at home, she in constantly waking up because of the planes. Same for us; we are both working, we are not sleeping our nights but we are expected to carry out our duties as normally.

We could use earplugs, sometimes we had to so so because we were too tired and needed some sleep, but what if something would happen to our baby?

We would not hear that… And babies can not have earplugs. We wanted to have another baby, but I think we have to forget that.

Normally working people have the weekends to rest and to recover. We do not recover because we can not sleep. What if after a few months like this we are not able to work anymore due to health problems?

We also wanted to buy a house to have our own garden, but we can not use it because we can not even talk to eachother when the planes are flying above us.

I have been landing to Zaventem quite a few times, on both runaways 02 and 25. The difference in population is quite remarkable; when landing on runaway 25, there are a few houses, but mostly just fields, but when landing on 02, you see houses, everywhere… For me it is quite difficult to see the locig in disturbing thousands and thousands of people instead of very few, and even at the cost of safety.

When you decided to push through your brilliant plan, I suppose you made a lot of studies and research before and you knew what would be the impact?

Now I am asking you to assume the responsability of your actions. You could always say that sell your house and move away. We would be glad to, but who would buy a house below the planes where you can’t sleep, and at what price? Certainly not the same we paid for it! We can not even sell the house for 2 years thanks to Belgian law, because it was rented. We are obliged to live in it. We could maybe try to rent it to somebody else, but I have seen a new beautiful house on our street with a sign « a louer » for
many months already. Who would like to live here?

So for the moment the only solution for us would be to improve the isolation of our house, let’s just forget about the garden. Will you and your government support us financially and all the other people concerned? We
will also need an airconditioning system for the summer, as opening the windows during the night is out of the question.

If after 2 years we finally manage sell the house, will you reimburse us the loss of the price?

Your argument was that this is a »fare » split of traffic. My colleague living in Grimbergen just told me that he does not see planes anymore. « Anyway, they never really disturbed because we only saw take-offs and they were already quite high », he said. In Wezembeek-Oppem we see take-offs from 20, we see take-offs from 25 and we see landings on 02. Do you see this as « fare » share? In civilised European countries the traffic is oriented where least people are disturbed with the maximum safety. In Belgium it is the opposite!

Mr. Anciaux, when can we sleep?

Mr. Anciaux, do you sleep well?

Awaiting your reply,

regards, T.S.