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Revised noise planning regime for Belfast airport kicks-in

Words: Roger Milne
George Belfast City Airport

The Department for Infrastructure has agreed to a new planning regime for George Best Belfast City Airport with immediate effect.

This establishes a more effective noise management system at the airport and removes the so-called 'seats for sale' restriction.

It aims to achieve a better balance between the socio-economic benefits of airport expansion and the need to protect the environment and quality of life for the surrounding community.

The new measures include a noise control contour and a quota-count system. A departure noise limit is being introduced on all flights with levies payable to a community fund if this is exceeded.

A penalty system for late flights has been introduced into the agreement, with bigger fines compared with the previous voluntary scheme operated by the airport.

The revised regime also involves a noise insulation scheme, which offers funding for measures to protect residential and noise-sensitive properties experiencing an average equivalent daily daytime noise level of 63dB.

The airport operator will be required to submit an annual performance report detailing the airport’s compliance with all obligations and restrictions within the agreement.

If there has been any non-compliance or there is a risk of non-compliance of the noise control contour within the incoming years, the airport will be required to agree to actions with the department to rectify the position.

The agreement is in line with recommendations from the Planning Appeals Commission following an inquiry.