Sod has been turned by the Taoiseach on the new runway at Dublin Airport to the disdain of local residents

Date: 25 Feb 2019

TAOISEACH LEO VARADKAR and Transport Minister Shane Ross today turned the sod on the new runway at Dublin Airport.

The 3.1 kilometre runway will cost €320 million to build, and will drive some €2.2 billion of economic activity, according to DAA.

The project is fully funded by the airport authority, and no taxpayers’ money will be used to fund the build, which will take at least two years to complete.

The project will involve more than 306,000 sqm of runway, 6km of internal roads, two electricity sub stations 11km of CCTV cable and 2,100 new runway lights.

Speaking at the site today, Varadkar said Dublin Airport is the gateway to Ireland for the world, stating that 30 million passengers come through every year.

Ross said today was a great day for Ireland and for tourism, adding that it is anticipated the runway would be open by March 2021.

Local residents protest 

People living near the airport held a protest as work began today, claiming that the government had ignored their concerns over the noise levels.

The residents criticised legislation which designates powers to Fingal County Council to act as the noise regulator, claiming there is a “conflict of interest” in doing so.

The legislation to establish the independent noise regulator was passed by the Dail on Wednesday.

The residents also had concerns about the value of their homes once the runway build is underway, and criticised the price that the DAA was offering to buy their homes.

DAA is offering to buy peoples’ homes for the set value, with a markup of 30%.

Sheelagh Morris, who lives in St Margaret’s near Dublin Airport, hit out DAA who intends to appeal to the new noise regulator to relax the rules, set out under the planning permission for the runway in 2007, that aircraft cannot fly between 6am and 7am.

“DAA are now going to have the night-time restrictions overturned which is going to have a massive impact on our homes,”  said Morris.

Noise levels

“Our homes will be deemed worthless, we won’t be able to live here. The noise regulation Bill is supposed to protect us. We are going to be subjected to 80/90 decibels of noise in the daytime and the night-time if these conditions are removed.

DAA boss, Dalton Philips told reporters today that it is vital that planes be allowed to fly between 6am and 7am, stating:

“The country is up and awake at that time,” he said, pointing out that we are an hour behind continental Europe, where many people do business.

“No, it is not right that we are not allowed to fly between 6am and 7am,” added Dalton, stating that the M50 is buzzing at that time, and so should the airport.

The Taoiseach agreed with the DAA boss, stating that with any major projects such as the runway, a balance has to be struck between “local concerns and the needs of the country as a whole”.

He said it is not intended that there be a greater number of flights passing by overhead after midnight.

Flying between 6am and 7am 

“But for an airport to function there do need to be flights between 6 and 7 in the morning – people need to get to places, they need get to meetings and aircraft need to get back to base,” he said.

The DAA boss added that 250 residents are impacted by the new runway, while in London, there are some 42,000 homes affected by the Heathrow runway.

“I represent Dublin West constituency and a large part of it is under the flight path and there has been a lot of engagement between the DAA and residents and between residents and politicians.

“We understand the concerns the residents have in relation to the value of their properties and to noise abatement, so there is a plan in place to purchase homes if people are willing to sell, if they want to relocate.

“For a lot of other homes the DAA will pay for insulation and pay for improvements to those homes so the impact on people is mitigated.”

He said the runway must be built for the greater good of the entire country.

However, local resident Morris said those that live nearby will not be ignored.

“We matter. We have been here for three generations,” she said.

Minister Ross said:

Measures have been taken to meet those concerns. The noise regulator is going to have a balanced approach and that means taking into account, not just the commercial demands, but also the difficulties and problems encountered by residents.

He added that it is “absolutely wrong” to say locals have been ignored, but said that he would meet with them again if necessary.

Original article:

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