Night-time flight rules for runway should be kept say councillors
A large majority of councillors have voted in favour of keeping night-time flying restrictions placed on the development of the new runway at Dublin Airport which the daa say must be removed to ensure the €320 million project's success.
The vote will mean the council chief executive will write to the Minister for Transport, to reflect the views of the councillors on the issue, but ultimately, Fingal County Council are unlikely to be the body charged with making this decision which sees the daa and many of its neighbours on opposite sides.
While the daa believe the restrictions will have a hugely negative impact on airport business, its neighbours have argued their right to a good night's sleep and An Bord Pleanála in its original granting of permission for the new runway, sided with those under the flight path on the issue and impose restrictions on night-time flying not only on the new runway, but across the airport.
That decision is now under potential threat from a new noise control regime for Irish airports that could give the IAA the power to overturn these controversial planning conditions.
Cllr Philip Lynam (SF) said he does not want that to happen and asked his council colleagues to back his motion to protect the original planning conditions set by An Bord Pleanála.
The Sinn Féin councillor said he supported the development of the new runway and the employment it would bring but he 'fully supported' the campaign of residents living close to the new runway to keep the night-time flying restrictions in place.
Cllr Brian McDonagh (Lab) agreed and said that the conditions had been set after a 'long technical process that looked into all the issues'.
He said that the was 'very disappointed' with the stated view of the daa that the conditions must be removed.
A number of councillors were concerned that the new regime on noise control which could allow the IAA to overturn the controversial conditions, would undermine the planning process.
Cllr David Healy said that there was a change to national legislation being proposed which had the 'primary purpose of allowing the daa get out of the conditions in the planning permissions that protect is neighbours from the effects of night time noise'.
Cllr Keith Redmond (Ren) agreed and said handing over the decision to the IAA would be like 'handing over planning for pubs to the Irish Vitner's Association'.
He said that by pursuing the removal of the planning conditions, the daa were 'building up ill will in this council and in the wider community and it will ultimately come back to haunt them'.
Cllr Tom O'Leary (FG) said he had a different view and the importance of Dublin Airport's development to the local and national economy had to be taken into account.
He said the airport employed 16,000 people and for every one job created within the airport, there was another nine created outside it.
He pointed out the economic dangers he saw if the planning conditions were allowed to stay in place, saying that the airport would lose three million passengers and he could not support something that would reduce passenger numbers at Dublin Airport.
Cllr Kieran Dennison agreed and said that if the development of the airport was left up to councillors, he was 'pretty sure there wouldn't be much of an airport at all'.
But Cllr Adrian Henchy (FF) said the case that the planning restrictions would lose three million passengers annually for the airport, had to be proven.
Ultimately, after a long debate, Cllr Lynam called for a vote and his motion calling for the council to back the retention of the planning conditions was passed with 25 councillors voting in favour of the motion, five voting against and one abstention.