Dublin Airport must wait year for ruling on new runway

New rules on airport noise to delay DAA challenge to planning conditions

The DAA pointed out that if planning conditions are enforced, the airport will have to turn away significant numbers of flights and passengers during one of its busiest periods. Photograph: Kate Geraghty

The DAA pointed out that if planning conditions are enforced, the airport will have to turn away significant numbers of flights and passengers during one of its busiest periods. Photograph: Kate Geraghty

 

Dublin Airport must wait at least a year for a ruling on a key part of the planning permission for its new runway.

The airport’s owner, State company DAA, is spending an estimated €320 million on building a new runway to cope with growth in traffic that saw 28 million passengers pass through there last year.

It has emerged that new rules governing airport noise mean that the company will have to wait 12 months or longer for a decision on its challenge to planning conditions capping the number of flights there between 11pm and 7am at 65.

An Bord Pleanála imposed the conditions when granting permission for the runway in 2007, but DAA chief executive, Kevin Toland recently confirmed that there are already about 100 flights during those hours.

The cap will not apply until the new runway is operating in 2020. Mr Toland pointed out that if it is enforced, the airport will have to turn away significant numbers of flights and passengers during one of its busiest periods.

The DAA intends appealing that and other restrictions that will essentially make the runway redundant and halt the airport’s growth. However, it cannot do this until the Government establishes a new regime for regulating aircraft noise required by a recent EU directive.

That involves giving the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA), which already oversees safety, the power to regulate noise and ensure that airports abide by rules set down by Brussels.

Minister for Transport, Shane Ross, told Clare Daly TD that his department was working on an order implementing part of this regime. It is understood that his officials hope the order, known as a statutory instrument, can be drawn up and signed by Mr Ross this month.

Review noise

In parallel with this, the Oireachtas will have to pass legislation defining both the IAA’s and An Bord Pleanála’s roles in relation to airport noise and planning applications and appeals. Minister for the Environment Simon Coveney will publish this Bill. Government sources also expect that this will take at least a year to become law.

The IAA will not be able to make any decision on Dublin Airport’s challenge until this legislation is enacted. If the airport loses, it will be able to appeal that ruling.

EU directive 598/2014 requires planners to consider three factors before imposing restrictions on airports, land use, noise abatement and the use of quieter aircraft. Mr Toland recently told The Irish Times Dublin Airport was “absolutely meeting all those conditions”.

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