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Weston Airport in County Dublin.
South Dublin County Council

Council concerned over night flights as part of proposed search and rescue base at Weston Airport

South Dublin County Council state that insufficient information has been submitted to fully justify the proposed location.

SOUTH DUBLIN COUNTY Council has expressed concerns over the introduction of night time flights at Weston Airport as part of plans to establish a helicopter Search and Rescue (SAR) base there.

Earlier this year, airport owner, Weston Aviation Academy Ltd lodged the plans for the SAR base at the airport near Lucan and if planning is obtained, the base is to be used by the recently appointed new operators of the State’s SAR service, Bristow Ireland Ltd.

The applicants have confirmed that the nature of the proposed facility is emergency services and will need to operate 24-hours each day.

However, the proposal is being opposed by a local stud farm operation and local residents and now in a letter to the applicants, the Council has told them that it has concerns in relation to the justification for the proposed development in terms of location and access, and the orderly development of Weston Airport.

The Council has stated that the proposal would result in an intensification of the use of Weston Airport and of particular regard is the introduction of night-time flights given that the applicant states that the airport doesn’t currently operate outside the hours of 8.00am to 8.00pm.

The Council state that the appropriateness of the proposed development’s location is of consideration given that it would change the nature of activity at Weston Airport.

The Council state that insufficient information has been submitted to fully justify the proposed location and in relation to proximity to noise sensitive sites.

As a result, the council has requested the applicants to provide justification for locating the proposed development at Weston Airport over other proximate airports, Dublin and Baldonnell.

The Council has also requested the applicant to alleviate concerns that the proposed development does not represent piecemeal development of Weston Airport and the response should include a masterplan or similar of Weston Airport to address these concerns.

The Council has also requested the applicants to assess the impact of the SAR base on the the activity of the Defence Forces at Casement Aerodrome.

The proposed facility is likely to accommodate 550 to 580 flights per annum.

Stud farm operator Tony Doyle has told the council that the prospect of night time fights at Weston Airport “will have a drastic consequence for us, our animals and the people looking after them”.

Doyle has told the council that if any SAR helicopter flies over his property at Coneyboro Stud Farm, Celbridge, Co Kildare at night “while my horses are lying down/resting in the paddocks or being attended to in the stables, the consequences for us and our animals are insurmountable and will lead to fatalities on our farm”.

In a separate objection, the Laraghcon Residents Association on behalf of 340 homes has asked the Council to refuse planning permission as the proposal “is contrary to our climate change strategy”.

In another objection, Gerard and Catriona Flannery have told the planning authority that they are “saddened and despondent” that this essential 24/7 service would be proposed for a site so close to residential communities.

The applicants have stated that it is to be expected that no adverse impact on horses at the nearby study farm would occur arising from the operation of the SAR base.

The report states that flight paths are proposed to ensure that no SAR helicopter would pass over the stud arm.

The report also found that the impact on residents’ sleep impact would not be significant.

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