Un­cer­tainty over cru­cial new EU air­port noise law

Irish Independent - - Business - John Mul­li­gan

THERE is still no de­fin­i­tive time­frame for the in­tro­duc­tion of leg­is­la­tion to make Fin­gal County Coun­cil the com­pe­tent au­thor­ity to ad­min­is­ter an EU noise di­rec­tive that will cover Dublin Air­port, Min­is­ter for Transport Shane Ross has con­ceded.

Dublin Air­port Au­thor­ity (DAA) in­sists the leg­is­la­tion needs to be in place as a mat­ter of ur­gency to en­sure the air­port op­er­a­tor can tackle two oner­ous con­di­tions at­tached to the con­struc­tion of the new €320m run­way at Dublin Air­port that would cur­tail the over­all num­ber of flights the gate­way could han­dle.

Mr Ross said that when a for­mal draft heads of a bill is writ­ten, there will be “more clar­ity on the time­frame” for the in­tro­duc­tion of the leg­is­la­tion.

“I can as­sure you that this is a pri­or­ity for me and my depart­ment,” Mr Ross said in re­sponse to a par­lia­men­tary ques­tion ear­lier this week.

The ap­point­ment of Fin­gal County Coun­cil as the in­de­pen­dent air­port noise reg­u­la­tor for Dublin Air­port was an­nounced ear­lier this year.

The gov­ern­ment had an­tic­i­pated that the Ir­ish Avi­a­tion Au­thor­ity (IAA) would be ap­pointed to the role.

How­ever, Mr Ross said last Oc­to­ber that le­gal ad­vice from the At­tor­ney Gen­eral’s of­fice has meant it “would not be con­sis­tent with the prin­ci­ples of good cor­po­rate gover­nance of the IAA as a whole” to ap­point the au­thor­ity as the com­pe­tent body to en­force the leg­is­la­tion that will be drafted to ad­here to the EU noise reg­u­la­tion.

Planning per­mis­sion was granted in 2007 for Dublin Air­port’s new 3.1km run­way. It is due to open in 2021.

But one of the con­di­tions at­tached by An Bord Pleanála would pro­hibit the new run- way’s use be­tween 11pm and

7am – a pe­riod that in­cludes the air­port’s ex­tremely busy morn­ing oper­a­tions.

The sec­ond con­di­tion would cap the num­ber of to­tal flights at the air­port be­tween 11pm and

7am at 65. The air­port cur­rently han­dles about 100 flights dur­ing that time.

Dublin Air­port han­dled al- most 30 mil­lion pas­sen­gers last year.

The DAA has been warn­ing since last year that if the new run­way went live with the two con­di­tions at­tached, Dublin Air­port would lose three mil­lion pas­sen­gers within a year – and could lose as many as 80 mil­lion over 20 years.

Ear­lier this week, the in­com­ing chair­man of the DAA, Basil Geoghe­gan, re­it­er­ated those warn­ings to the Oireach­tas Transport Com­mit­tee. He said it was im­per­a­tive that Fin­gal County Coun­cil be given the re­sources nec­es­sary to es­tab­lish its reg­u­la­tory of­fice prior to the leg­is­la­tion be­ing en­acted.

DAA has in­sisted leg­is­la­tion needs to be in place as a mat­ter of ur­gency

Dublin Air­port could risk los­ing mil­lions of pas­sen­gers un­der planning con­di­tions con­nected to its new run­way

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