One person files over 3,100 complaints about Dublin Airport noise in six months

Repeat objectors responsible for an almost-tenfold increase in such complaints

Most complaints are made by people living on Dublin’s northside in areas located on or close to flight paths, including The Ward, Portmarnock and St Margaret’s. Photograph: Getty Images

Most complaints are made by people living on Dublin’s northside in areas located on or close to flight paths, including The Ward, Portmarnock and St Margaret’s. Photograph: Getty Images

 

A number of repeat objectors are responsible for an almost-tenfold increase in complaints about noise from aircraft using Dublin Airport in the first half of 2019.

Figures published by the DAA, the airport’s operator, show one individual has filed over 3,100 complaints over the six months.

The individual, who lives in Ongar, West Dublin, had made 3,147 complaints about noise from aircraft between January and June – approximately 82 per cent of all complaints recorded over the period – and an average of more than 17 complaints per day.

The same person was also single-handedly responsible for a 22 per cent increase in overall noise complaints to the DAA in 2018 when they registered 628 incidents.

Two other individuals – one from The Ward and another Ongar resident – have each filed more than 100 complaints in the first half of this year.

Overall, a total of 3,817 noise complaints have been lodged with the DAA from just over 100 individuals over the period compared to 396 complaints over the corresponding timeframe last year.

The DAA claims the figures are skewed by a significant number of complaints from a few individuals. If such repeat objectors are excluded, the DAA estimates the number of complaints in the first half of 2019 is around 330.

Daylight hours

The vast majority of cases relate to complaints about noise from aircraft taking off from the main 10/28 runway during daylight hours.

Most complaints are made by people living on Dublin’s northside in areas located on or close to flights paths including The Ward, Portmarnock and St Margaret’s, but some have been received from residents as far away as Celbridge and Maynooth, Co Kildare, Newcastle, Co Wicklow and Tallaght and Sallynoggin on the city’s southside.

A DAA spokeswoman said more than 99 per cent of commercial flights adhere to the dedicated flight path on take-off and approach at Dublin Airport.

The spokeswoman said the DAA had contacted the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) to ascertain if anything had changed regarding flight paths to explain the increase in complaints.

“We are both puzzled as to what has changed over Ongar since the first complaint came in July 2018, as the current flight procedures/path have remained the same for at least the past 15 years,” she said. “Aircraft are typically between 5,000 and 10,000 feet when they are given direction by the IAA to turn south over Ongar.”

Ongar lies a considerable distance outside a zone where householders can avail of a free noise insulation scheme for their homes.

However, the DAA acknowledged that the number of flights had increased over the period.

Most aircraft, which depart from the main runway in a westerly direction, must maintain a straight course for five nautical miles before commencing a turn.

Operating restrictions

The DAA said all aircraft taking off and landing in Dublin were compliant with current standards set down by the International Civil Aviation Organisation on aircraft noise, noise abatement measures and operating restrictions.

It claimed that modern subsonic jets were around 30 decibels quieter than their first-generation counterparts, which represents a 90 per cent reduction in perceived noise.

And over 90 per cent of aircraft using Dublin last year were the quietest types compared to 83 per cent in 2008 and 46 per cent in 2003.

The DAA said it worked closely with the IAA and airlines to constantly heighten awareness of noise abatement procedures in force at Dublin Airport.

The DAA operates a €1m noise and flight track monitoring system to ensure minimum disruption to local communities which includes eight fixed noise monitors and one mobile noise monitor around north Dublin.

Construction work is currently under way on the new €320 million North Runway at Dublin Airport, which is scheduled to come into operation in 2022.

The DAA is seeking to amend the existing planning permissions for the runway, which will prohibit its use for landings and take-offs between 11pm and 7am.

Fingal County Council has recently been appointed as the competent authority for independently assessing noise controls and restrictions at Dublin Airport.