Ross to appoint noise regulator for new runway at Dublin Airport

Fingal County Council likely candidate after AG rules out Irish Aviation Authority

Taking off from Dublin Airport. Photograph: Alan Betson

Taking off from Dublin Airport. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

Minister for Transport Shane Ross is to seek approval this week to appoint a new authority to regulate noise abatement conditions for the planned runway at Dublin Airport.

Mr Ross is to take a memo to Cabinet on Thursday selecting Fingal County Council as the appropriate authority and introduce legislation in October to allow for such.

The airport’s owner, State company Dublin Airport Authority, wants to build a new runway there at a likely cost of €320 million, and sees the appointment of a noise regulator as central to it getting a planning condition limiting night-time flights lifted.

Mr Ross had intended appointing safety watchdog, the Irish Aviation Authority, as noise regulator until the Attorney General, Séamus Woulfe, advised that the body may not be independent enough for the role.

The Irish Times understands Mr Ross will seek approval to appoint Fingal County Council in its place. This is despite concerns raised by the residents in the area. Dublin Airport is one of the council’s biggest rate payers.

The Minister will seek to have legislation governing how the regulator will operate enacted by the end of this year.

Under existing rules around noise restrictions, DAA would not be allowed to use the new runway between 11pm and 7am.

The entire airport would also be restricted to 65 aircraft “movements” nightly.

DAA wants the State to pass promised legislation for a noise regulator to help it circumvent the two offending conditions.

If the rules are not changed in time, the DAA claims, the restrictive regime would result in Dublin Airport losing the capacity to facilitate 2.4 million annual passengers “overnight”.

The airport operator believes this would torpedo its growth strategy, and inflict needless damage on the Irish economy.

The State-owned company claimed last week that the restrictions would cost 14,700 jobs over 20 years.