Dublin MEP Ciarán Cuffe has called for Fingal County Council to reject Dublin Airport Authority’s planning application to increase airport capacity from 32m to 40m passengers per annum and the associated project elements, writes Rose Barrett.
Cuffe said the plan would create an “intolerable increase in noise exposure for Dublin residents”, as well as a significant increase in greenhouse gas emissions.
However, Graeme McQueen, Media Relations Manager at daa, the operator of Dublin Airport stated the company has been seeking a meeting with Mr Cuffe since early December after Mr Cuffe said he didn’t understand comments made by daa’s CEO regarding its sustainability work.
“We wrote to him in early December to invite him to meet with us, but we didn’t get a reply until last Friday evening (January 26) – after he had made his submission regarding our Infrastructure Application. Regrettably, that meant Mr Cuffe couldn’t educate himself on our plans, our concerted sustainability work and the importance of our Infrastructure Application, which would have helped inform his submission.”
MEP Cuffe said: “This plan is a bald-faced attempt to upend everything that we know is true about increasing the passenger cap: more planes will create emissions, and more planes will make more noise. Those are the facts: plain and simple. Fingal County Council has a responsibility to protect residents and to consider the environmental impact of such plans. The council cannot approve a plan in such clear contradiction of government policy to achieve significant emission reductions before 2030.”
“Never have I seen a state body show such disregard for the communities impacted by their plans. The people of north Dublin deserve a good night’s sleep as much as anyone else. This application makes no plans to reduce the noise or emissions impact of a cap increase.
“While other sectors are implementing significant and difficult changes to help reach our climate goals, one of the most polluting sectors is demanding a significant expansion. There cannot be one rule for the daa, and another for every other sector. This plan is utterly divorced from reality and must be rejected.”
In response, Mr McQueen noted: “Whilst aviation accounted for less than 3per cent of global energy-related carbon emissions in 2022, we recognise that airports, airlines and the entire ecosystem must play its role in a national effort to address climate change.
“daa has been engaging with many stakeholders, locally, nationally and internationally for several months in advance of our Infrastructure Application being submitted in December. It is regrettable that our offer to meet with our CEO to discuss Dublin Airport’s sustainability plans did not happen before Mr Cuffe made his submission.”
He continued: “daa’s Infrastructure Application aims to support and enable the growth of Dublin Airport to cater for Ireland’s future demand for international air travel, sustain and develop Irish jobs and continue to grow our economy while also achieving our stated goal to reduce carbon emissions by 51pc by 2030 and to be net-zero by 2050 at the latest.
“We will be investing €400m over the next four years in over 20 sustainability initiatives and projects if the Infrastructure Application is approved. If it isn’t, the international connectivity Ireland currently enjoys into and out of Dublin Airport and some of the €9.6bn in economic activity and 116,100 jobs supported by Dublin Airport will move elsewhere.”
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