by LINDA STEWART (Belfast Telegraph)
9 SEPTEMBER 2013
Belfast City Council is on a collision course with George Best City Airport after the airport declined to take measures recommended to protect residents affected worst by aircraft noise.
Councillors have accused the airport of trying to wriggle out of its responsibilities after it refused to set up a Noise Management Area in the residential area most affected by noise.
An EU Noise Directive recommended that a Noise Management Area where control measures would be in play should be set up for the 1% of residents most affected by aircraft.
In Belfast, that would apply to residents living in a band across Sydenham, Mersey Street and close to Victoria Park. However, the airport has said this was merely a recommendation and it was only obliged to declare a Noise Management Area if the noise was louder.
Councillor John Kyle said: “It’s important the the City Airport don’t try to wriggle out of their responsibility to create a Noise Management Area.”
Last week, Belfast City Council called on the airport to consider setting up a Noise Management Area and to consider ways of reducing exposure to noise for people in the worst affected areas. Vonnine Hanna, who lives in Connswater Grove, said: “If you are out standing talking to somebody in the street and a plane comes over you have to stop talking – you can’t hear what they’re saying.”
A spokeswoman for George Best Belfast City Airport said: “The airport along with others such as Translink and Roads Service must submit a Noise Action Plan to the Department of the Environment as part of the European Noise Directive.
“We will give careful consideration to all feedback from consultees, including Belfast City Council, before finalising the plan. The airport is acutely aware of the environment and community within which it operates. We will continue to implement our noise management programme and adhere to our planning agreement with regards to the operation of flights within our scheduled operating hours.
“Less than 1% of total flights last year operated between 21.30 and our curfew of 23.59, due to exceptional circumstances. The airport will continue to fine airlines that operate flights within these hours, with all fines dispersed via our community fund.”
The EU Noise Directive requires competent authorities to undertake periodic strategic noise mapping to identify population exposure to noise and then to produce action plans to reduce noise levels where necessary, and to preserve environmental noise quality where it is good. This is achieved through the formal designation of Noise Management Areas. InNorthern Ireland, competent authorities are DRD, Translink, George Best Belfast City Airport and Belfast International Airport, and the Department of the Environment.
Belfast City Airport’s own report finds noise badly annoys 8,500 locals
21 JUNE 2013 (Belfast Telegraph)
More than 8,000 people living near George Best Belfast City Airport suffer from a level of aircraft noise deemed by the UK Government to cause “significant community annoyance”, a new report has revealed.
A draft noise action plan published by the airport shows that 8,616 people live within a zone surrounding the east Belfast airport which gets an average of 57 decibels of aircraft noise. The average reading was taken over a 16-hour period on a summer’s day.
The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology has warned that this level of aircraft noise has the potential for the onset of significant community annoyance – although some people are affected at lower levels.
In its plan, the airport has promised it will operate a noise compensation scheme for local residents affected by loud noise – but this will only apply to residents or “noise sensitive premises” that fall within a zone found to have a higher noise level – 63 decibels.
The plan also revealed that more than 80% of complaints about aircraft noise come from people in the Kinnegar, Holywood, Cultra, Ormeau, Annadale, Stranmillis, Malone, Sydenham and Ballymacarrett areas.
In the plan, which has been issued for consultation, the airport says it manages air noise through a number of measures. This includes restricting scheduled flights to between 6.30am and 9.30pm, allowing no more than 48,000 air traffic movements in any 12-month period, prohibiting the use of aircraft that are only marginally compliant with noise standards, installing a noise and track monitoring system and introducing procedures to reduce ground noise.
It lists a series of actions it will take during the period of the plan (2013-18), including seeking to maximise flights over Belfast Lough and offering a noise compensation scheme.
The consultation comes after the airport called on Environment Minister Alex Attwood to remove the seats-for-sale limit that prevents operators using the airport to offer more than two million seats for sale in any 12-month period. The airport wants to scrap the limit and replace it with a new noise management system and noise control cap.
Last night residents said they were concerned that the airport was being allowed to self-regulate its noise management.
Belfast City Airport: Reality dawns earlier now for unhappy airport neighbours
June 27, 2013 .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” – over 57 decibels – according to a new report by the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology. Belfast City 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 over 63 decibels. Residents say aircraft noise has become worse since Aer Lingus launched 3 routes from the City Airport at the end of March. There is a 6.30am take off to Faro, 7 days a week and on weekdays, there are then 5 BA departures beginning at 6.35am, and all before 7am. The planes have been getting bigger over the last ten years. A resident asked: “Surely they should stick the big jets at the International Airport and keep the regional flights at the GBCA.” Belfast City Airport Watch does not believe that an airport situated in a densely populated urban area is the right location for international flights due to the noise and health impact on local people. Click here to view full story…
Noise Management Areas were clearly mentioned in the
Environmental Noise Directive Draft Noise Action Plan, by George Best Belfast City Airport – August 2008