Local residents not at all happy about noise plan for Dublin airport
Some residents living under flight paths of Dublin Airport are unhappy that a new plan is not adopting World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines on permitted noise levels for aircraft. Fingal county council will become the noise regulator for the airport under proposals drawn up by transport minister Shane Ross. Fingal county council submitted a draft 5-year noise action plan for the airport to the Environmental Protection Agency last week. The public made more than 50 submissions in the consultation period, and most queried why new (October 2018) WHO noise guidelines were not adopted. WHO guidelines say that average noise exposure from aircraft should be limited to 45 decibels during daylight hours and 40 decibels at night. The council’s plan sets no limits for noise and instead focuses on mitigation measures. In the UK the WHO noise guidelines are not followed either – nowhere even approaching them. The number of people exposed to plane noise of 55-60 decibels was over 18,000 in 2016, and that is likely to rise due to more activity at the airport and more housing built near it. Fingal council said it is awaiting national or EU-led policy guidance on noise levels. Construction of the new 2nd runway, for yet more flights, is due to be completed in early 2021 and commissioning will then take place.
Noise plan for Dublin airport causes turbulence for locals
By Colin Coyle
December 23 2018, (The Sunday Times)
Fingal county council’s plan for aircraft noise ignores the World Health Organisation’s advice
Some Dublin residents living under flight paths are unhappy that a new plan for Dublin airport is not adopting World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines on permitted noise levels for aircraft.
Fingal county council, which will become the noise regulator for the airport under proposals drawn up by transport minister Shane Ross, submitted a draft five-year noise action plan for the airport to the Environmental Protection Agency last week.
The public made more than 50 submissions in the consultation period, and most queried why new WHO guidelines were not adopted.
Last October the WHO recommended that average noise exposure from aircraft should be limited to 45 decibels during daylight hours and 40 at night — the equivalent of a bird call. The council’s plan sets no limits for noise and instead focuses on mitigation measures.
The report says 18,500 people were exposed to noise of 55-60 decibels in 2016, up from 11,500 in 2011, partly because of an increase in the populations of Tyrrelstown, Balgriffin, Portmarnock and Santry. Noise at this level is comparable to a conversation in a restaurant.
“The results indicate that noise from Dublin airport has increased over the last 10 years,” the report says. “While it is the case that there has been an increase in activity between 2011 and 2016, and a corresponding increase in the number of people within the [affected areas], it is important to note a number of developments were constructed and occupied around the airport over this timeframe.”
The report notes an increase in noise complaints in recent years. Dublin Airport Authority said this was “partly due to works taking place on the main runway, which resulted in
the increased use of the crosswind runway at night”.
The authority suggested the number of complaints increased in 2016 after it announced plans for a second runway.
The council said it is awaiting national or EU-led policy guidance on noise levels. “The application of the recommendations has significant implications for the existing and future built environment in Ireland and the EU, not just in Fingal,” it said.
The authority said more than 90% of the aircraft using Dublin airport last year were “of the quietest type” and that it already has “a voluntary house-purchase scheme, which offers a 30% premium on the value of the dwelling as if the new runway was not being built”.
There is also a sound insulation programme for homes and schools “within certain noise contours”.
daa Awards North Runway Construction Contract
30 October 2018 (Dublin airport – daa – website)
daa has awarded the main construction contract for Dublin Airport’s new North Runway to a joint venture comprising Irish firm Roadbridge and Spanish infrastructure company FCC Construcción (FCC).
The contract is for the design and construction of the new 3.1km North Runway at Dublin Airport. Mobilisation and preparatory site works will begin immediately, and groundworks will start in January. Construction of the new runway is due to be completed in early 2021 and commissioning will then take place.
The contract includes building 306,000sq m of new runway and taxiways, and 6km of new internal airport roads, as well as installing new drainage and pollution controls, 7.5km of electrical cable, and more than 2,000 new runway and taxiway lights.
North Runway will be built at no cost to the State – as daa is not funded by the taxpayer – and will support the creation of 31,200 new Irish jobs and €2.2 billion in additional economic activity by 2043.
“We are delighted to award this key contract to Roadbridge FCC and to move to the next phase of our plans to deliver the new North Runway,” said daa Chief Executive Dalton Philips.
“North Runway is an essential project for Ireland, as it will position the country for future economic growth for many decades to come,” Mr Philips added. “North Runway isn’t Dublin’s new runway; it is Ireland’s new runway and it will boost the performance of Irish tourism, trade and foreign direct investment in a post-Brexit world.”
Roadbridge Managing Director Conor Gilligan said the Limerick-based company was honoured to be part of the consortium that will build North Runway. “We are thrilled to be involved with such a prestigious and vital national project,” Mr Gilligan added.
FCC Construcción’s UK & Ireland Director Miguel Ángel Mayor said FCC had a strong track record in Ireland and looked forward to working closely with daa to build the new runway. “We have been operating successfully in Ireland for many years and also have significant experience of runway construction both in Europe and South America, having built more than 4.5 million sq m of airport runways,” he added.
About 300 construction jobs will be created onsite during the project, with hundreds more in sub-supply firms offsite. The commissioning phase of the runway project will also create additional employment both onsite and offsite.
To maximise local employment opportunities in the project, Roadbridge FCC will be working closely with Fingal-based development company Empower and daa to fill as many positions as possible from within the local community.
daa is mindful of its local communities and mitigation measures such as a voluntary house purchase scheme, and a sound insulation programme for homes that will be affected are already in place. Dublin Airport is also investing €10 million in a Community Fund that will support a wide range of local initiatives over the next 25 years and has also bought land in the area, where it will create a new public park.
While construction of North Runway is proceeding, daa will separately seek to have the two onerous conditions attached to the project amended. These conditions would limit flights at the airport’s busiest time of the day, which is between 6am and 7am, and also at night. Legislation is currently being drafted for an independent noise regulator at Dublin Airport, and daa will make its case in relation to the conditions via this new process.
The new runway will be located about 1.6km north of Dublin Airport’s current main runway and will be entirely built on land owned by the airport. Developing a new runway at Dublin Airport is a key part of the Government’s National Aviation Policy, as it will allow the airport to develop its hub business and enable airlines to offer connectivity to more destinations.
Dublin Airport’s existing runway system is effectively full at peak times and North Runway is also needed to reduce delays and congestion and to allow for future growth at Ireland’s key international gateway.
Construction started on the North Runway in late December 2016 and the initial package of works supported about 100 construction jobs. Roadbridge also won the contract for this initial phase of North Runway works, which included site clearance, road and services diversions and a series of archaeological and other surveys.
The North Runway enabling works construction package was the first ever Irish project to win a Gold Award at the Considerate Constructors Scheme Awards, which promote best practice within the construction industry.