Isabelle Durant's plan to close the airport to all traffic between 01.00 and 05.00 from 2003 (ENDS Daily 6 January) was swiftly contradicted by Guy Verhofstadt last month (ENDS Daily 13 January). Mr Verhofstadt said the new plan, approved at a cabinet meeting on Friday, was a "global and integrated policy" which would ensure the "necessary development" of the airport and a "methodical" reduction of noise nuisance.
Under the agreement, the noisiest aircraft will be grounded between 23.00 and 06.00 and tighter quotas will reduce total noise by 30% from 2003, despite a large projected increase in flights. Combined with a home insulation programme and land-use planning changes, the measures will halve the number of local residents subject to noise exceeding World Health Organisation guideline levels.
A new international high-speed "TGV" train link will be extended to the airport and the proportion of airport users arriving for flights by public transport will be raised from 18% to 40% by 2010. A nearby military airbase will be also be vacated to allow expansion of the airport.
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