tao-afi.org 30 avril 2014
OPEN LETTER TO MR BARROSO PRESIDENT OF THE COMMISSION
Subject : « Wathelet Plan »
As from February 2014, the Wathelet Plan has changed flight paths of aircrafts using Zaventem airport. This has been done without consideration of the problem of suddenly having airplanes flying over the densely-populated centre of Brussels where, along with hundreds of thousands of others, we work and many of us chose to live. This has occurred from one day to the next, with no advance notice and no consultation with the populations suffering from these flights.
The effect of these flights is manifold. It is estimated that there are some 600,000 people living in areas impacted by these flights, who in addition are forced to suffer from a constant noise nuisance from 6am in the morning to after 11m at night which has immediate impact on sleep and general well-being, with a number of cases already noted of people suffering from stress as a result.
The flights also present a security hazard, flying over some of the most densely populated areas of Brussels, including key strategic terrorist targets, such as the European Council, the European Parliament, the European Commission and a large number of international missions and representations in the city. They fly over our schools, hospitals and densely populated office locations. The planes also emit pollutants (NOx, CO, hydrocarbons and soot) as part of the take-off process, again with impacts concentrated in the densely-populated areas of Brussels.
We are concerned that as implemented that new flight plan could be in breach of EU legislation for the protection of citizen’s health and the environment, including the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive, the Strategic Environmental Assessment Directive, the Noise Directive and the Directive on the control of major-accident hazards.
In summary, the new flight plan (Wathelet Plan) poses a serious nuisance as well as security risk to hundreds of thousands of people living and working in Brussels. It significantly undermines the location of the city as a place to do business, it affects its reputation as a tourist destination – in short it affects the way people can live, work and enjoy this city.
We urge you therefore as representatives of the European Commission to raise this issue with the relevant representatives of the Belgian administration in order to seek an immediate solution to this problem as well as develop a long-term, sustainable approach to accommodate the health and safety of all Brussels citizens and the operation of Zaventem airport, taking into account its proposal for significant further growth in flight traffic in the future.
Président TAO/AFI Brussels