Dublin Airport operator DAA has submitted an application to Fingal County Council for permission to amend two planning conditions that are due to apply to the operation of the new north runway and the overall runway system at Dublin Airport when the new north runway begins operations.
The current conditions would limit the use of the north runway between 11pm and 7am, and also place an overall limit of 65 aircraft movements across the entire airport during those hours.
In its newly lodged planning application, DAA proposes the introduction of a noise quota system at night, which would operate between 11.30pm and 6am, and that the north runway would only be used between 6am and midnight.
In a statement published on the Dublin Airport and DAA websites, DAA CEO Dalton Philips said, "We had originally wanted to have these two onerous conditions removed entirely, but having engaged with the local community and listened to their views, we have revised our previous position and are now proposing very significant mitigation measures."
DAA said that under its new proposals, the overall effects of nighttime noise at Dublin Airport are less than envisaged under the planning permission granted in 2007, and do not exceed those in 2018.
Within the planning application, DAA also proposes a new €7 million insulation scheme for dwellings that are most affected by nighttime noise. The proposed scheme would see grants of €20,000 paid to the owners of up to 350 eligible houses.
DAA has already established an insulation programme for approximately 200 local households as well as a voluntary scheme to purchase up to 38 properties that will be most affected by the operation of the north runway at a significant premium to their market value if the runway was not being built.
Philips asserted, "The new proposal balances the requirements of the Irish economy with the valid concerns of the local community.
"It has never been Dublin Airport's intention to have lots more flights in the middle of the night, but in their original form, the two conditions would have a very significant impact on Ireland's connectivity, as the hour between 6am and 7am is Dublin Airport's busiest time of the day."
According to Philips, the proposed new measures would provide Dublin Airport with "the operational flexibility that is required to help the Irish economy recover from the impact of COVID-19 and face the challenges of a post-Brexit environment, while ensuring that the effects of nighttime noise that were envisaged by the original planning conditions are not exceeded."
Under new legislation that came into effect last year, a separate part of Fingal County has been appointed the competent authority for the purposes of noise regulation at Dublin Airport.
Under the legislation, the competent authority will apply what is known as the balanced approach to address the issue of noise at the airport. Under the balanced approach, three key elements must be considered before contemplating operating restrictions. The three key elements that must be considered are reduction of noise at source, land-use planning and management, and noise abatement operational procedures. According to DAA, only after these three elements have been exhausted, should the fourth element of the Balanced Approach - operating restrictions - be considered.
The competent authority has a 14-week public consultation period within its deliberations and its decision is incorporated within the overall planning decision. This decision can be appealed to An Bord Pleanála. When making its decision, it will take into account the views of the community, the aviation sector and other stakeholders, as well as international best practice.
Runway Construction Timeline
Construction of the new runway will be largely completed in the second quarter of next year and this will be followed by a rigorous period of testing and commissioning. The runway is expected to be operational in 2022.