Residents welcome Belfast City Airport public inquiry

16th March, 2010   (Belfast City Airport Watch press release)

Local residents have welcomed the decision by Environment Minister, Edwin Poots,
to hold a public inquiry into the runway extension proposal submitted by George Best Belfast City Airport .

 Belfast City Airport Watch (BCAW), which represents residents in east and south

, and in north Down, says the group is delighted that the controversial proposal
will now be subject to rigorous scrutiny.

"An extended runway would mean an international airport right on Belfast
’s doorstep,"
said Liz Fawcett, a spokesperson for BCAW.  

"While we had hoped that Mr Poots might have rejected this ludicrous proposal
outright, we’re very glad that it will now be subjected to robust scrutiny."

Just days ago, it emerged that the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), the UK
’s official aviation regulator, had submitted a damning report on the runway
extension proposal to the Planning Service.

The CAA’s detailed report was heavily critical of vital information submitted
by the airport in support of its plan. In its report, the CAA:

·                 highlighted the fact that, if the runway extension went ahead, there would be
little to prevent huge aeroplanes, such as A310 Airbuses and Boeing 757s, from
using the airport

·                 concluded that the methodology used to calculate the likely additional noise
impact resulting from a runway extension is misleading and has seriously underestimated
the potential scale of the problem

·                 criticised the airport for assuming it will be flouting the current official
cap on its passenger numbers by nearly one million more passengers than is actually permitted under the airport’s existing planning agreement with
the Planning Service

·                 took the airport to task for failing to provide sufficient detail on its future
air traffic forecasts in stark contrast to other UK
airports making similar planning applications 

"The CAA report   made it abundantly clear that the airport is not prepared to
come clean on its true intentions and is happy to flout any planning restrictions
imposed if it thinks it can get away with it,"
said Ms Fawcett. "The report vindicated many of the points we have been making."

Belfast City Airport Watch opposes the runway extension proposal because an extended
runway would enable planes to carry larger loads of passengers and fuel, leading
to heavier aircraft and greater levels of noise. The proposal would also enable
the airport to greatly expand its operations.

Both these points were supported by the CAA report which stated that, in terms
of the proposed runway length alone, it would be possible to operate larger aircraft
from the extended runway, possibly with some adaptations to ground infrastructure.

Last year, BCAW carried out a survey of more than 400 individuals in areas in
east and south
, and in north Down, affected by aircraft noise from the City Airport .

The shock findings from this survey demonstrated the extent to which aircraft
noise is already a very real problem for many residents:

·         More than three-quarters (78%) of the 412 individuals surveyed said that aircraft
noise affected their sleep

·         Three-quarters (75%) of respondents said they often had to stop talking when
a plane flew over because they couldn’t be heard

·         Of the 157 respondents with children, nearly half (46%) said their children weren’t
getting enough sleep because of aircraft noise.

·         More than a third (34%) of those with children said their children found aircraft
noise frightening.




Editor’s notes:

1.             Belfast City AirportWatch comprises nine residents’ groups across affected areas
within east and south Belfast
, and north Down. For more information on the campaign, visit:

2.             The Airport’s Planning Agreement is an agreement between the Department of the
Environment and the Airport. The current Agreement came into force on 14th October

  1. For further information and interviews, please contact Liz Fawcett on 028 9020
    0811 or 0771 943 5662.


 More news and information about Belfast City Airport

see also

CAA report prompts calls to axe Belfast City Airport runway extension

28th February 2010       A report by the CAA on information supplied by Belfast City Airport has prompted
calls for the airport to withdraw its planning application for a runway extension.
The environmental statement supporting the application to greatly extend the runway
has ‘significant deficiencies’. The noise report submitted to Planning Service
by the CAA said the evidence in the environmental statement was incomplete and
advised caution in relying on it. (UK Airport News)       Click here to view full story…