Some North Down residents claim they have become early birds against their will as aircraft from George Best City Airport have been taking off earlier, seven days a week.
Over 8,000 people in North Down, south and east Belfast suffer from levels of aircraft noise that are considered to cause “significant community annoyance” according to a new report by the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology.
Now the airport has published a draft action plan which includes a proposal to begin operating a noise compensation scheme for local residents affected by loud noise – but only those affected by noise levels of 63 decibels or more.
The report shows that 8,616 people live within a zone surounding the airport which gets an average of 57 decibels of aircraft noise.
Residents say aircraft noise has become worse since Aer Lingus launched three international routes from the City Airport at the end of March. Its timetable includes a 6.30am take off to Faro, seven days a week and on weekdays, this flight is followed by five British Airways regional departures beginning at 6.35am , but all before 7am. On Sundays, after the 6.30am flight before there’s a British Airways departure at 6.40am.
Aer Lingus has also launched a service which will run six times a week to Malaga, and a twice weekly service to Palma.
John Driscoll, who used to work in the aerospace industry, moved into his house in Kinnegar a decade ago. “I bought this house knowing the airport was there,” he said, “but there are people up and down the neighbour hood who have to stop talking when one of these planes flies overhead.
“The jets have been getting bigger over the last ten years. They may be award wining for their quietness – compared to other planes of the same size, but they’re still noisier than six or seven years ago. They make a double bang sound when they go over and then rumble. In the mornings they line up first thing and it wakes us up.
He asked: “Where does it end? Surely they should stick the big jets at the International Airport and keep the regional flights at the GBCA.”
Dr Liz Fawcett, Chair of the Belfast City Airport Watch residents’ group, said: “Many people are telling us that they’re having their sleep disrupted by early morning flights and that the noise seems to have got worse since the new international routes started up. We don’t believe that an airport situated in a densely populated urban area is the right location for international flights. We’d like to see a better balance between the commercial interests of the airport, on the one hand, and the health and quality of life of local residents, on the other.”
Local community group – Belfast City Airport Watch
Westminster committee hears from Belfast residents on aircraft noise from Belfast City Airport
October 27, 2012 A committee of MPs at Westminster has been hearing from Belfast residents affected by aircraft noise linked to George Best Belfast City Airport. The umbrella residents group, Belfast City Airport Watch (BCAW), was invited to give evidence to the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee at Westminster on 24th October as part of its inquiry into an air transport strategy for Northern Ireland. All three MPs whose constituencies are affected by the noise issue – Naomi Long MP, Alasdair McDonnell MP and Lady Sylvia Hermon MP – sit on the Committee and were present at the meeting. Dr Liz Fawcett, Chair of the BCAW Steering Group, said the group was very pleased with the reception it got from the MPs, and their interest in the issues. BCAW want the regulation of aircraft noise at the non-designated airports to be strengthened. The current proposals in the draft Aviation Policy Framework consultation do not go far enough. The consultation ends on 31st October. There is information on how to respond, and on the noise section in particular. Click here to view full story…
Aer Lingus to switch from Belfast International to Belfast City Airport
June 16, 2012 The Chief Executive of George Best Belfast City Airport has dismissed the remarks made by BALPA link , that Belfast should have only one airport, at a Commons Select Committee hearing as laughable. He said the airport is a profitable privately run company, and cannot be closed down against their wishes. BALPA had said that Belfast City airport was not needed, and was creating over capacity for Belfast. Meanwhile Aer Lingus is thought to be switching its operations from Belfast International Airport to Belfast City Airport, after the City airport lost BMI Baby. Aer Lingus flies to Heathrow and 7 European destinations, but it is thought it may expand routes to regional UK airports from the City and compete with Flybe. The move could happen soon, and the City Airport would have Belfast’s only Heathrow connection. Click here to view full story…
Cautious welcome from Belfast City residents for airport noise consultation
March 28, 2012 Local residents have given a cautious welcome to news that the Environment Minister, will hold an inquiry and consultation aimed at addressing the issue of aircraft noise linked to George Best Belfast City Airport. Belfast City Airport Watch (BCAW) want protection for local residents and their quality of life. They say: “A far higher number of residents living near City Airport have to suffer unacceptable levels of noise than is the case at major UK airports such as Stansted or Gatwick.” They also face more noise this year from several new international routes operating out of City which are likely to push up noise levels even further. BCAW wants the consultation to result in a tougher airport Planning Agreement which is properly enforced. Many thousands of Belfast people suffer levels of noise above those recommended by the WHO. Click here to view full story…