Thursday, 19 January 2023
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
19. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if his attention has been drawn to the obligations on the Dublin Airport Authority to respond to reports of noise made by residents living in the environs of Dublin Airport and reports that responses are not being received from residents making noise complaints; the obligations in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [62765/22]
24. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the engagement that he has had with the DAA in relation to the serious issue that has arisen whereby planes taking off from the new north runway are using flight paths different to those submitted in the planning application for the runway; if he appreciates the need to address the legitimate noise concerns affected residents are now experiencing as a result; the plan that is being put in place to resolve this; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2412/23]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 19 and 24 together.
As the deputy will be aware, daa holds statutory responsibility for the management, operation, and development of Dublin Airport.
Noise mitigation at Dublin Airport is subject to substantial regulation and oversight as well as best practice mitigation measures.
Following the opening of the North Runway in August last year an issue regarding the runway’s departure flightpaths was identified which resulted in some local communities being unexpectedly overflown. When this issue was identified, I understand that the daa advised local communities and elected representatives that the daa had commenced a review with the aim of resolving the issue.
When the review was complete, daa reverted to these stakeholders advising that the current Standard Instrument Departures (SIDs) would be updated, resulting in flightpaths aligning more closely with those previously consulted on and used as part of the planning process.
All flight paths at Dublin Airport are governed by international safety standards so the revised SIDs required regulatory review and approval before being implemented. daa in conjunction with IAA Air Navigation Service Provider (IAA ANSP) submitted a revised departure process to the Safety Regulator for the required safety assessment which was subsequently approved.
The revised departure procedure then had to be submitted for promulgation to all aircraft manufacturers as required under International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) safety rules. This is so that the revised fightpath can be input to aircraft instrument systems.
The ICAO process requires a minimum of two months’ notice and provides for fixed dates as to when such information can be submitted.
Since taking up office I have met with daa senior management a number of times in relation to matters regarding the operations at Dublin Airport. This week I have met with the Chair and the new CEO, Kenny Jacobs and I stressed the importance of the issue raised being rectified and the need for continued and proactive engagement with the communities affected.
daa has confirmed that the new flightpath will be operational from 23 February 2023 and aircraft will operate the revised departure process from that date. In the interim, the continued use of the current departure process is necessary, however daa have committed to ensuring there are no departures off the North Runway before 0900 during this period.
daa has advised that the overall number of houses in the various noise contours will be similar to that previously communicated. However, detailed modelling is currently being completed, and daa anticipates that a small number of additional houses may become eligible for mitigation measures as a result of the revised flightpaths.
1.Engagement by daa with complaints to noise
Fingal County Council’s Noise Action Plan (2019-2023) and daa’s own Noise Management Plan (2018) commits to the continued use of a noise complaint management system which aims to respond to complainants within 28 days of a complaint submission.
This target was largely being met until the opening of North Runway in August last when the volume of complaints more than doubled. As a consequence, daa has advised my department that their response target has been significantly impacted, but that they are making every effort to address the backlog. daa has advised that they have now responded to October and November complaints and responses to complaints received in December are being progressed.
daa has assured me they continue to regularly engage with the Community and stakeholders on matters related to the North Runway and I understand that they recently met with Deputy O'Reilly and other Sinn Féin elected representatives on these matters.
I will also continue to engage with the daa on these matters.