One year on: residents still aggrieved by North Runway night flights

15 noise measuring systems now in place by the daa

by Rose Barrett
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Rose Barrett

One year ago last week, the opening of the North Runway at Dublin Airport was heralded as marking a new era for the capital city’s airport and welcomed with a large commercial spinoff expected. But the past year has been seen residents repeatedly complain about the divergence of flight routes and increase in night flights from the planning permission granted in 2007.

August has seen much activity in the ongoing debacle with a High Court ruling on August 8 pausing an order by Fingal County Council demanding less night flights from September next, pending a full hearing due on November 14 next. The High Court gave leave to FCC to object to the ‘pause’, stating the council could go to court on 48 hours’ notice to the airport authority, and seek to have the stay removed or amended.

Confirming that the planning permission currently in place for the North Runway at Dublin Airport is Planning Authority Reg Ref No: F04A/1755 / ABP Ref No: PL 06F217249, a spokesman for Fingal said: “FCC is conducting a complete review of the court papers from the High Court hearing whereby the daa was granted a stay on the Enforcement Notice issued by the Planning Authority.” A decision for FCC to have the stay varied or removed will be made once the substantial number of Court papers have been reviewed.

CEO of the daa, Kenny Jacobs acknowledged the High Court’s decision would not solve the longterm issues. But that Dublin Airport was a busy international service provider and “balancing the needs of a major international airport like Dublin with the needs of local resident and communities is always a delicate matter – and one the daa takes very seriously.”

In a searing statement last week, Forum (Fingal Organised Residents United Movement) said: “It has been one year since the North Runway at Dublin Airport opened for use. One year since many communities in Fingal and East Meath lost their peaceful environment. One year of noise, stress and worry for many people who are still trying to understand why.

Why are planes from Dublin Airport following flight paths that were not included in the original planning permission for the North Runway? Why are the strict conditions enforced by the state planning body An Bord Pleanala (ABP) around the number of night-time flights at Dublin Airport not being adhered to?”

Cllr Ann Graves (SF) has robustly defended the residents’ complaints and FCC slapping an Enforcement Notice on the daa.

“A key element in the 2007 planning permission granted was the limit of 65 flights applied at Dublin Airport to protect the residential amenity and health of surrounding communities, “ she said. “The 65-flight limit was an increase applied by APB, as a compromise to allow future growth at Dublin Airport while recognising the need to protect residential amenity and health. The daa have had 16 years to comply but chose to ignore it! They increased the number of night flights and deviated from the agreed flight paths – as a semi-state body, they are not above the law!”

15 noise measuring systems now in place

Another addition to the North Runway flight feud was the confirmation earlier this week by Fingal County Council that 15 permanent noise measuring systems in community locations around Dublin Airport are now operational.

This follows a directive in November last from Aircraft Noise Competent Authority (ANCA) to the daa, to install and maintain permanent noise measuring systems in 23 community locations no later than 24 August 2024. The implementation was directed to be phased so that 15 of these locations would be operational by 24 August 2023.

The fifteen locations now live on Webtrak are: Ashbourne, Bay Lane, Bishopswood, Coast Road, Portmarnock, Donabate, Dunboyne, Feltrim, Malahide Demesne, Roundwood, St David’s, Roundwood, St Doolaghs, St Margaret’s, Summerhill and Swords.

ANCA further directed the airport operator to provide two mobile noise monitors that could be rotated through communities that do not have a permanent noise monitor. The remaining eight noise measuring systems will be installed within the next 12 months by the daa.

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