It was revealed last week that Belfast City Airport has decided to withdraw its planning application for a runway extension.
While we at Belfast City Airport Watch give a cautious welcome to the news, the fact is that the City Airport is, in any case, transforming itself into an international airport which is likely to exacerbate the existing noise nuisance suffered by thousands of residents.
What’s needed is tougher noise regulation so there can be a balance between the commercial interests of the airport, and the health and quality of life of residents. We’re really glad that the Department of the Environment is about to hold an inquiry to look at the noise issue – and we hope residents will get better protection from noise as a result of it.
We feel that the City airport shouldn’t be an international airport. There will be no less than 9 international routes up and running by the summer; Our concern about international flights is that the aircraft will require more fuel which will make them heavier and, according to bmibaby, greater thrust to lift off – so we’re concerned that they’ll be noisier than planes flying to Britain or Ireland.
In view of the noise nuisance suffered by thousands of residents, it’s quite inappropriate for the NI Executive to allow City Airport to become an international airport when there’s an existing international airport – Belfast International – just up the road with plenty of spare capacity.
And it’s self-defeating from an economic point of view – the City airport can only grow its international market at the expense of International. We believe that, both from an economic and an environmental point of view, it would be much better if City focused on its business and domestic markets.
- Last year, some 6,000 residents were affected by aircraft noise at a level considered serious by the UK government – and in 2010, while Ryanair still operated, that figure was more than 11,000. By contrast, around 1,500 residents suffer the same level of noise at Stansted, where the government refused to allow a second runway due to noise concerns.
- All the planned international routes from City simply duplicate routes already available from International.
So while we’re cautiously optimistic about this recent development, there is yet much to be done. The City airport continues to be a source of great noise pollution for thousands of residents, and we welcome the DOE’s inquiry in to noise levels.