Thursday, 22 February 2018

Questions (188)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

188. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the reason homes in an area (details supplied) directly under the flight path of runway 16/34 at Dublin Airport were not considered for noise insulation in view of the sustained use of this runway at night and as an alternative to the main runway in adverse weather conditions. [9132/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

As the deputy is aware, daa holds statutory responsibility for the management, operation and development of Dublin Airport, including responsibility for the mitigation of aircraft noise which may effect neighbouring communities.

I have been informed that this issue relates to the ongoing resurfacing of the main southern runway which started in November 2016 and is scheduled for completion in April 2018. The project requires the use of the crosswind runway, R16/34 at night for that 18-month period.

These works can only be carried out at night between the hours of 9pm and 5am when the airport is least busy as it requires the full closure of the main runway.  While the night time works are ongoing, the airport has no alternative but to use its secondary runway, R16/34 to facilitate landings and take-offs during this time.

The daa began highlighting the necessity for this project in 2015 and took steps to communicate with local communities in respect of the time and scope of the works. Due to the concerns of residents living under the southerly flight path to runway 16/34, which is the most populated flight path to this runway daa have committed to using the northerly flight path for the duration of this project where at all possible other than when weather conditions dictate.

Following the completion of the works on the main runway, daa advise that R16/34 will only be used in exceptional circumstances i.e. where wind/safety reasons dictate. Therefore, no increased noise disruption beyond the duration of the overlay works is anticipated.  

The Deputy may also be aware that in compliance with an EU Regulation (598/2014) concerning Noise Related Operating Restrictions at EU Airports, I recently announced plans for the establishment of an independent body to regulate airport noise at Dublin Airport in accordance with prescribed procedures for assessing and, where appropriate, ensuring the adoption of measures to mitigate noise impacts. With the support of Government, I intend to appoint Fingal County Council as the Competent Authority. The necessary statutory arrangements are a priority objective for my Department in 2018.  

It is my view that provisions of the Regulation, including the appointment of an independent regulator, represent a huge improvement on current arrangements for noise management at the Airport and that full implementation is in the broad national interest and in the best interests of local residents.