Dublin Airport, like most airports, is subject to International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) rules and procedures. ICAO works with 191 Member States and industry groups to reach consensus on international civil aviation standards and recommended practices and policies in support of a safe, efficient, secure, economically-sustainable and environmentally-responsible civil aviation sector. These practices and policies are used by ICAO Member States to ensure that their local civil aviation operations and regulations conform to global norms, which in turn permits more than 100,000 daily flights in aviation’s global network to operate safely and reliably in every region of the world.
ICAO is a UN specialized agency, established by States in 1944 to manage the administration and governance of the Convention on International Civil Aviation (Chicago Convention). ICAO promotes the safe, orderly development of international civil aviation worldwide. Annex 16 of their ‘International Standards and Recommended Practices’ specifically addresses aircraft noise. These guidelines establish maximum noise levels and other noise performance standards for different aircraft types.
The ICAO framework relating to aircraft noise is the Balanced Approach, which aims to strike a balance between the needs of the aviation industry to develop and grow and the need to minimise and reduce noise in communities surrounding airports. The Balanced Approach is very clear that each airport should assess the noise situation specific to its operations and develop appropriate measures to manage noise in line with the Balanced Approach.
The ICAO’s best practice on noise management at airports focuses on the Balanced Approach, the four pillars of which are the reduction of noise at source, land-use planning, noise abatement operational procedures and operating restrictions. A fundamental requirement of the Balanced Approach is that when determining the most appropriate combination of noise mitigation measures for a given airport, operating restrictions should only be introduced after consideration of the other three elements. The Balanced Approach recognises that noise challenges are unique to each airport and a tailored approach needs to be adopted. The National Aviation Policy (NAP) for Ireland, published in 2015, states that Ireland will implement a “Balanced Approach” to noise management at Irish airports.
We already undertake a wide range of measures to avoid and mitigate noise impacts at Dublin Airport in line with the Balanced Approach.
1. Reduction of noise at source:
Over the past 20 years the models and types of aircraft using Dublin Airport have evolved with changing profiles in passengers and business models and the introduction of more stringent noise standards for aircraft. These standards are developed by the ICAO and enforced throughout the EU. The ICAO Noise ‘Chapter’ defines specific noise performance criteria to which aircraft must be certified. Since 2002, Chapter 2 aircraft are banned from use in Europe.
In 2015, over 95% of aircraft using Dublin Airport were the quietest type (known as Chapter 4), compared to 83% in 2008 and 46% in 2003.
daa understands the concerns of neighbouring communities regarding noise associated with airports. We continuously monitor and scrutinise our operations and seek to develop flightpaths for North Runway which least impact our local communities. Our endeavours in this regard are best demonstrated through our public consultations on North Runway where we actively sought the views of our neighbouring communities on the criteria for selection of noise preferential routes and flightpaths.
Additionally, as a direct result of feedback from local communities, daa has engaged specialists to interrogate data collected from noise monitoring stations located in the vicinity of the airport and produce information in a format which is accessible to all. The two 2016 noise reports are available for viewing here and reports will be produced every six months going forward.
2. Land-use Planning
Dublin Airport has benefitted from a far-sighted planning process that has kept the approaches to the runways largely clear of development and limited noise exposure. This is achieved by reference to the established airport noise and public safety zones during the statutory planning process. Fingal County Council’s County Development Plan 2011-2017 defines ‘inner’ and ‘outer’ noise zones; the inner zone to limit new residential development and other noise-sensitive uses, and the outer zone to control inappropriate development and require noise insulation where appropriate.
3. Operational Procedures
Along with our airport stakeholders, we have implemented a range of operational procedures to minimise noise at Dublin Airport. These include:
- Noise Preferential Runway usage: Aircraft must use the preferred runway under specific conditions and time of day/night. These are selected for noise abatement purposes, the intent being to utilise whenever possible the runways which enable aircraft to avoid noise-sensitive areas during the initial departure and final approach phases of flight.
- Environmental Noise Corridors which aircraft must adhere to on arrival and departure to minimise noise impact.
- Noise Abatement Procedures: Specific rules on how aircraft should perform take-off climbs to ensure that noise is minimised.
- Reverse thrust is not permitted at night, unless required for safety reasons.
- Continuous Descent Approach: This reduces the noise experienced on the ground by reducing the overall thrust required during the initial descent and keeping aircraft at higher altitudes for longer.
- Engine test runs are only permitted at certain times to minimise ground noise.
- Limitations on the use of the cross-wind runway.
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