Local residents have expressed their alarm at the fact that seven new international routes are to operate from George Best Belfast City Airport.
Dr Liz Fawcett, the Chair of the Belfast City Airport Watch Steering Group, says residents are angry that politicians are allowing the City Airport to be turned into an international airport.
“It’s completely inappropriate for an airport on the doorstep of major residential areas to be permitted to become an international airport when we already have an international airport on a virtual greenfield site just up the road,” she said.
“This move has been made in the absence of any robust and properly enforced noise controls.
“The Northern Ireland Executive – and in particular the Environment Minister – have singularly failed to tackle the issue of noise which affects tens of thousands of local residents.”
Dr Fawcett also pointed out that five of the new routes are to holiday destinations which will simply attract more local people to take weekend breaks and holidays abroad.
“It’s in the interests of our local economy to encourage people to take their holidays and weekend breaks in Northern Ireland, and new routes to holiday destinations won’t do that,” she commented.
Belfast City Airport Watch estimates that more than 40,000 residents in east and south Belfast, and north Down are affected by aircraft noise linked to the City Airport.
Two years ago, Belfast City Airport Watch carried out its own survey of residents in areas overflown by planes from the City Airport.
The shock findings from this survey demonstrated the extent to which aircraft noise is a very real problem for many residents:
- More than three-quarters (78%) of the 412 individuals surveyed said that aircraft noise affected their sleep
- Three-quarters (75%) of respondents said they often had to stop talking when a plane flew over because they couldn’t be heard
- Of the 157 respondents with children, nearly half (46%) said their children weren’t getting enough sleep because of aircraft noise.
- More than a third (34%) of those with children said their children found aircraft noise frightening.