Fingal County Council is to become the noise regulator for Dublin Airport and could have the power to overturn controversial planning conditions attached to the airport’s new runway which restrict night-time flying.
Residents surrounding the airport are strongly in favour of keeping those conditions but the daa insist that they are too restrictive on its business and must be overturned.
After a protracted and ultimately ill-fated attempt to give the Irish Aviation Authority control over noise regulation issues at Dublin Airport, the Government changed tack last week and announced it would bring forth legislation to enable Fingal County Council to take on that role.
The Minister for Transport, Shane Ross will now seek to publish a draft Bill soon which will set out precisely how the new Regulator will operate in accordance with Regulation 598/2014 and with our national planning framework, including related EU Environmental Directives.
The Bill, which the Minister hopes to have enacted by the end of this year, will provide for ‘an open, transparent and balanced approach to noise management at Dublin Airport, taking account of the needs of local residents and the broader national interests associated with the future development of our main national airport’, according to the Government. Minister Ross said the move ‘will ensure that for the first time there is a fair and transparent system for the independent assessment and monitoring of airport noise at Dublin Airport – on an ongoing basis – and that proposals for expanding future capacity and/or increasing aircraft movements are specifically evaluated for their noise impact, as well as other existing environmental impact assessment requirements’.
When Fingal County Council first granted permission for the runway more than a decade ago, there were conditions imposed on the development relating to noise control but crucially, none restricting night-time flying. Those night-time flying conditions were added later by An Bord Pleanála in response to an otherwise failed appeal to have planning permission denied to the project.
Reacting to the announcement it is to become noise regulator for the airport, Fingal County Council said it ‘noted’ the decision. The local authority said it now ‘awaits publication by the Government of the draft Bill which will set out precisely how the new Regulation will operate in accordance with Regulation 598/2014. In the meantime the necessary resources will be put in place to deliver a robust and independent regulatory system’.