City airport expansion plans will have detrimental health impact

As the public enquiry into George Best City Airport’s attempt to change part of its planning agreement began today, Monday 18 May, Green Party East Belfast councillor Ross Brown said,

“This attempt by the airport to effectively bring in more frequent, bigger planes will have a detrimental impact on the health and wellbeing of 18,000 residents.

“I have been contacted by numerous local householders who have told me that their sleep is already disrupted by the high noise levels. This leaves them, and their children, tired and stressed.

“In order to carry more passengers, airlines will have to either put on more flights or use larger planes.

“Either way, noise levels will rise, increasing the misery for thousands of householders”.

“While the airport is required to operate within night time noise restrictions, a lack of enforcement by the Department of the Environment has meant that on average, there is one flight per day operating out with these confines.

Green Party MLA for North Down Steven Agnew added,

“Noise pollution issues arise much further afield than the area directly surrounding the airport.

“Indeed when speaking to residents in Kinnegar, Holywood recently, I heard first hand from them that aircraft noise in this area can be significant.

“We know from the World Health Organisation that noise is an underestimated threat that can cause short- and long-term health problems such as sleep disturbance, cardiovascular effects, poorer work and school performance and hearing impairment.

“As such, concerns from people affected by aircraft noise should not be dismissed out of hand.

“I understand that the George Best Belfast City Airport is a vital part of our transport infrastructure. However it has to operate within its limits to achieve a balance between its purpose and the health and wellbeing of local people”.

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