What Can I Do?

How to Complain

Are you upset by aircraft noise? Do you believe your house has been damaged by an aircraft? Are you worried about a strong smell of fuel which you believe may have come from a plane?

If you’re complaining about aircraft noise which you believe is related to George Best Belfast City Airport, you should first make a complaint direct to George Best Belfast City Airport by telephoning +44 (0) 28 9093 5020 or filling in an online form at this link:

http://www.belfastcityairport.com/getdoc/f21a79a7-e0f9-4b99-b3eb-38532595d592/Noise-Management.aspx

We strongly advise that you complain to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), the UK’s regulatory body, in the following instances:

  • If you believe your house has been damaged by an aircraft (see also our advice below)
  • If you are worried about a strong smell of fuel which you have good reason to believe may have come from a plane
  • If you have complained to the airport about noise, but are not satisfied with the reply you have received

The CAA is an independent, expert body which has the power to take action if it believes your concerns are justified. If your house has been damaged, it will launch its own independent investigation.

To make a complaint or register your concern about a particular aircraft-related problem, you can contact the CAA by phoning it on 020 7453 6524/5, by e-mailing aree@caa.co.uk or by sending a letter to the following address:

Aviation Related Environmental Enquiries
Directorate of Airspace Policy
K6 G7, CAA House
45-59 Kingsway
London WC2B 6TE

I think my house has been damaged by an aircraft – what do I do?

First of all, take some photos of the damage – this is important should you or your landlord wish to make a claim for damages and/or compensation. If you have a digital camera and E-mail, you can also send these photos to the media (see below).

If you live in rented or housing association accommodation, any damage will probably be a matter for your landlord or housing association, and you should call them as quickly as possible.

Do call the airport on the above number to let it know what has happened. However, if you own your own home or can’t get hold of your landlord, you should also contact an independent surveyor to assess the damage as quickly as possible and ideally before any repairs are undertaken. You may find that the airport offers to undertake immediate repairs and/or to cover the damage for you – unless it is pouring with rain, we advise you to seek an independent opinion first and, if you’d like publicity, to provide time for the media to get some pictures of the damage.

You (or your landlord) have the right to commission your own repairs and to seek compensation for those later if you prefer, although this has to be balanced up against the fact that you may not be able to prove that any particular airline was responsible and that the airport may withdraw what is, in effect, a goodwill offer on its part if its offer is not accepted fairly quickly. (Legally, it is the relevant airline rather than the airport which is responsible for damage compensation in the case of aircraft damage, where it is proven).

If you live in the Belfast City Council area, we advise that you telephone the council’s Building Control department on 028 9032 0202 – an out of hours number is provided via voicemail during evenings and weekends. If it is not possible for the council to assess the damage, we advise that you ask an independent surveyor to assess the damage, but do check his or her fee first. You can find local chartered surveyors at:

http://www.rics.org/site/scripts/documents_info.aspx?categoryID=234&documentID=499

Publicity about any such incident helps to ensure that politicians take action on the issue of aircraft safety. So – if you’re pretty sure an aircraft was the cause of the problem, and the damage is reasonably significant (i.e. more than a few tiles have been dislodged) – then do call the media as quickly as possible to let them know. Here are some contact numbers:

Press Association (a central press agency used by most of the media): 028 9024 5008

UTV: 028 9032 8122

BBC: 028 9033 8000

Belfast Telegraph/Sunday Life: 028 9026 4000

If you want to claim for costs or compensation for damage to your house and/or physical injury or stress/anxiety resulting from the incident, contact a lawyer or your local Citizens’ Advice Bureau as quickly as possible. A lawyer should be prepared to give you a free initial consultation and advise you on whether you would be entitled to claim legal aid for any legal help. If you have been injured and/or suffered serious stress or anxiety as a result of an incident, you should get a medical note from your doctor which states the injuries you have received as a result of the incident.