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Dublin Airport noise regulator established despite concerns over Fingal Council role

The new body, the Aircraft Noise Competent Authority, is being run by Fingal County Council.

Work has begun on a new runway at Dublin Airport.
Work has begun on a new runway at Dublin Airport.
Image: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

A DUBLIN AIRPORT noise regulator has been established, Fingal County Council has announced, despite months of scrutiny over the decision to hand responsibility to the council.

Transport minister Shane Ross chose Fingal County Council to be the noise regulator, as opposed to the Irish Aviation Authority, the Department of Transport or another separate body. 

The creation of a new regulator was ruled out over concerns it could prove too costly to establish. 

The body, launched today, will work on issues around aircraft noise, aviation, environment and planning. 

EU rules dictate that a noise regulator is needed before Dublin Airport’s new – and controversial – runway is built and completed as planned in 2021. 

However, concerns were raised about the decision to appoint the council as chief regulator of noise from Dublin Airport.

In March, TheJournal.ie reported that officials raised concerns about a conflict of interest, raising the fact that 8% of Fingal County Council’s annual budget income comes from the Dublin Airport Authority. 

Legislation to create the new regulatory body, named the Aircraft Noise Competent Authority, was passed in May after being steered through the Dáil by Ross. It will not manage individual complaints, but will instead work on general regulation of noise levels at the airport. 

The plan to appoint Fingal County Council as the chief regulator was rushed through after a proposal to appoint the Irish Aviation Authority was rejected when the Attorney General warned that it was too dependent on funding from Dublin Airport.

Interim Chief Executive of the council, Ann Marie Farrelly, said the body will now work to assess “current and predicted future levels of aircraft noise at Dublin Airport”. 

“Fingal County Council has a track record of performing the role of competent authority in areas such as planning and environment, and will now continue this in the area of aircraft noise regulation,” she said. 

Gilbert Power has been appointed as the director of the authority. In a statement, he said the body will be “adhering strictly” to its remit.

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