11/08/2010

Inquiry Into City Airport Extension 'Crashes'

Residents from east Belfast have welcomed a tough stance taken by the Planning Appeals Commission, which has this week halted the public inquiry into the proposed runway extension at George Best Belfast City Airport.

In a highly unusual move, the Commission has refused to go any further with the inquiry until the Department of the Environment obtains more robust and complete noise-related environmental data from the airport - (an aircraft on final approach is pictured).

The Department's Planning Service had suggested the airport could submit further information once the inquiry hearings were underway, but the Commission has refused to accept this proposal, making it clear this could give rise to an undue delay.

Reacting to the news, Dr Liz Fawcett, Chair of the Belfast City Airport Watch Steering Group, said: "We are really glad that the Commission has stood its ground against a shameful proposal by the Planning Service which would have given a really unfair advantage to the airport.
News Image
"Had the airport been allowed to submit further information at the last minute, residents and other objectors would have had scant time to scrutinise it properly and we would have been at a real disadvantage.

"We're also glad that the Commission has seen the patent flaws in the noise data submitted to date by the airport – information which was heavily criticised by the Civil Aviation Authority in a report commissioned and initially suppressed by the Planning Service."

The detailed Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) report was heavily critical of vital noise information submitted by the airport in support of its plan.

Belfast City Airport Watch opposes the runway extension proposal because an extended runway would enable planes to carry larger loads of passengers and fuel, leading to heavier aircraft and greater levels of noise.

The proposal would also enable the airport to greatly expand its operations.

In its letter to the Planning Service informing it of its decision to delay the inquiry, the Commission also refers to the need for fuller information on comments received from objectors and supporters to the airport's application.

(BMcC/GK)

Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

23 March 2020
Man Due In Court Over Co Down Burglary
Police have charged a 26 year-old man in connection with an aggravated burglary in Bangor, Co Down. A house in the Gray's Hill area was targeted on Saturday 11 January. The suspect is charged with aggravated burglary with intent to steal. He is due before Downpatrick Magistrates Court on Monday 23 March.
13 March 2020
Council Buildings Closed To Public In Derry & Strabane
Derry City and Strabane District Council has taken the decision to close all council owned buildings to the public. The City of Derry Jazz Festival is also cancelled, along with a number of major events. The closures will take affect from 6pm today, Friday 13 March.
16 March 2020
Belfast City Marathon Postponed
Organisers of the Belfast City Marathon have took the decision to postpone the race and following half marathon fixture in light of the coronavirus outbreak. The marathon, originally due to take place on Sunday 03 May, will now be held on Sunday 20 September 2020.
24 May 2011
City Airport Hits Back Over Inquiry Delay
A proposed runway extension at George Best Belfast City Airport is once again flying into controversy.
07 September 2010
Council Steps Up Pressure For Newtownards Planning Enquiry
Ards Borough Council is stepping up the pressure to ensure that a vital public inquiry into three major retail planning applications for Newtownards is prioritised.