28/08/2002

Noise monitoring review for NI airports announced

A review of the current noise pollution monitoring arrangements used by Northern Ireland’s airports has been announced by the Department of Regional Development (DRD).

The DRD review follows up on the recent publication by the Department for Transport of a consultation document on air services to and from Northern Ireland. That report highlighted the issue of the environmental impact of future airport growth.

Under the terms of the planning agreement governing Belfast City Airport, the Airport Authority is required to undertake the monitoring of noise on a bi-annual basis. The results are compared to a computer model, which reveals whether the noise levels have increased or reduced during the intervening period.

Extensive monitoring of noise pollution at Belfast City Airport was conducted in March 2002. The consultant’s report on their findings was published at the end of June and is currently being considered by both the DoE and the DRD.

Belfast International Airport and Belfast City Airport also both have an Airport Forum, which gives local residents the opportunity to raise directly any issues of concern and for the airport authority to also consult with the residents on matters affecting them. The airports can be issued with directions for limiting airport noise and vibration under the Airports (NI) Order 1994.

Commenting on the review, DRD Minister Peter Robinson said: “I am very much aware of the concerns many residents in east Belfast have expressed in recent months about noise from the Belfast City Airport.

“The purpose of this review, which will cover all Northern Ireland’s commercial airports, is to examine the present arrangements for the reporting, analysis, interpretation and publication of noise pollution data and to make recommendations for any improvements considered necessary.

"My department aims to ensure that the way this information is presented in the future will be in a format that will be easier to access and interpret by those affected.”

The Minister concluded: “The review will examine the situation at airports elsewhere and employ current best practise within the aviation industry for monitoring noise pollution.”

The review will be undertaken by Professor Callum Thomas of the Centre for Air Transport and the Environment at Manchester Metropolitan University.

(KMcA)

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