These are the findings of the Living Environment research carried out on behalf of the Flemish authorities. 5,000 Flemings were quizzed about the disruption to their daily life caused by noise, light and odours. The survey has been carried out each and every years since 2001 and probes the quality of life in people's local living environment. It emerged that more and more Flemings are getting annoyed about street noise. Today one in four Flemings is roused in the night by street noise.
Many people are also upset by noise pollution caused by aircraft. Noisy neighbours too irk 17% of Flemings.
Prof Dick Botteldooren of Ghent University speaks of a sea change: complaints about noise had been falling and now rise for the first time. The professor is eager to find out whether today there is more noise or it's simply people's perception that has changed.
Three out of four Flemings are satisfied with their living environment, though 7% indicate that light pollution too is a disturbance. Many are unhappy about the amount of light originating from road and carpark lights. Some people maintain it's not dark in their bedrooms as a result, though common sense should tell you there is an easy solution. Thoughts wander to London during the Blitz.
Even worse than light is the nuisance caused to the Flemish by nasty smells. A full 15% complain that bad odours upset their living environment. Smoke from chimneys irk one in ten of them, while 15 years ago this figure was a mere 4%. Exhaust fumes as well as odours generated by industrial and agricultural activities too are getting on many people's nerves in Flanders!