Meath residents lodge objections to expansion plans at Dublin Airport

Residents from across east and south Meath have lodged objections to the proposals to the expansion of Dublin Airport.

The Wotton Residents Association, Meath public representatives and individual Meath residents are included in 380 submissions to Fingal Co Council in relation to the expansion plans.

The Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) is seeking 15-year planning permission for 11 new infrastructure projects and an increase of capacity from 32 million to 40 million passengers per year.

A "lack of noise mitigation measures included in the application" and a "severe lack of public consultation" are cited as causes for concern.

Cllr Joe Bonner said that residents in Ashbourne, The Wotton, Ratoath and Dunboyne are already suffering the effects of increased noise levels since the opening of the new airport runway and the current proposals are a major concern as it will make the situation even worse.

"Fingal County Council has already taken enforcement proceedings against the DAA, which has yet to be finalised," he said.

Cllr Bonner was concerned about the lack of public consultation given the scale of the of the project. "The application was lodged in mid-December which didn't give the public much time to make submissions," he pointed out.

In their submission The Wotton Residents Association point out that despite the fact there are 7,000 pages in the application document, there was a lack of public consultation.

They express concern at the lack of noise mitigating measures in the application and they point out that the application is premature until the Metro North project is in place.

The objection also notes that the DAA breached the existing cap of 32 million passengers per annum last year and also in 2019 and that the health impact on residents of east Meath and north Dublin has not been properly assessed.

A joint submission by Deputy Darren O'Rourke and Cllr Helen Meyer acknowledges Dublin Airport is at the heart of Irish transport and is a major employer and contributor to the lives of those living in the surrounding areas, including in Co Meath.

"No one wants to stand in the way of progress or business, however the DAA is currently dealing through the courts on enforcement proceedings issued by Fingal Co Council for breaches of planning conditions.

Deputy O'Rourke and Cllr Meyer point out the outcome of the Relevant Action appeal on night-time flights is pending. This application pre-empts the outcome of this and other legal cases including enforcement proceedings against the DAA by Fingal Co Council for breaching conditions set by An Board Pleanála of the planning permission in relation to the North Runway.

"Conditions 3 and 5 of the planning approval specifically refer to the night time operation of the runways. These conditions were inserted with the approval of the DAA to protect the local communities from aircraft noise during night hours.

"Aircraft noise is considered the most significant cause of adverse community reaction relating to expansion and operation of airports. This is evident in many studies into the effects of noise on people’s health. Extending night-time flight times will have a detrimental effect on members of communities – physically as well as mentally. Quality of life of residents in surrounding communities have to be taken into account."

“The submission notes there are no noise mitigation measures included in the application, which means the status quo remains in relation to the noise measures from 2007

"There is also no night time insulation scheme included for those residents who will be exposed to noise greater than 55dB at night, bearing in mind that there are areas who have been exposed to noise greater in 2019, 2022 and 2023.

"The proposal includes an increase in both passenger and staff car parking which is contrary to the Fingal Development Plan. In the absence of a sustainable transport system to service the airport, including the delivery of Metro North – major expansion will only serve to exacerbate the current parking issues and add to the car bloat which is a contributory factor to climate change."

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The DAA has said the €1.5 billion plan is critical for national development and more capacity is needed to grow tourism, trade, investment and jobs in keeping with Government policy.

Director of Services, Dara McGowan in replying to ouncillors who raised issues about noise complaints from Meath residents said that while the Meath council had not made an objection to a planning application submission regarding the airport expansion the council had made a submission on the issue.

The proposer of a notice of motion on the airport issue, Sinn Fein Cllr Helen Meyer said she felt it was really important that the Meath council should engage with the planning process on airport expansion in the interests of many constituents in Meath who were impacted.