Below you will find frequently asked questions and associated answers. You may wish to read the FAQs in their entirety or go directly to a specific topic by clicking on the links below:
1. What legal challenges have been brought against daa in relation to North Runway?
Three legal challenges were heard in the Commercial Court in 2017 in relation to North Runway:
- An application for a judicial review was taken by 22 individual residents against Fingal County Council and the State. daa was named as a notice party to those proceedings. The proceedings arose from Fingal County Council’s decision of March 7, 2017 to grant an extension of time on the planning permission for North Runway for five years, up to and including August 28, 2022.
- An application for judicial review was also been taken by Friends of the Irish Environment against Fingal County Council, naming daa as a notice party.
- A local residents’ group sought an injunction under the Planning and Development Act 2000.
On Tuesday, November 21, 2017 the court ruled in favour of daa in all three cases.
2. What is the current status of the North Runway Project?
- Construction Package 1 is almost complete. The works involved clearing the North Runway site, erecting fencing to secure the site and some alterations to local roads.
- The new diverted section of the R108 near the Boot Inn is now open to road users. Forest Road has been reopened following a temporary closure to facilitate the realignment of Forest Little Road and the installation of a new junction.
- Constructive dialogue has begun with the four shortlisted consortia in relation to North Runway Construction Package 2
- We have commenced the procurement process to identify and appoint suitably qualified professionals to undertake works associated with the survey and design stages of the Voluntary Residential Noise Insulation Scheme.
- We are continuing to work on the Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIAR) to support the application to Change the Permitted Operations of North Runway.
- Meetings are ongoing with the St Margarets Community Liaison Group and local resident groups.
3. Are public roads closed as part of the development of North Runway?
Only two roads have been diverted or re-aligned - the Naul Road R108 is diverted at the Boot Inn with the construction of a new road, and a portion of Forest Little Road has been realigned and a new junction installed at its intersection with Forest Road.
The Naul Road diversion is a new road linking Huntstown to the St. Margaret’s Bypass (L3132) to the west. This new road runs south of North Runway. The Naul Road diversion is approximately 2.5km of single 8m wide carriageway, including a priority junction with the L3132, with spur roads connecting to Toberburr Road and Dunbro Lane.
A portion of Forest Road is within the footprint of North Runway and has been moved to a more northerly alignment. Realignment involved the construction of approximately 900m of single 8m wide carriageway.
4. What engagement has daa had with local communities?
There has been extensive engagement with local communities since the project was announced. This will continue throughout the project and we remain open to meeting with any local individuals or groups.
daa has met with several residents’ groups including St. Margaret’s Concerned Residents Group, St. Margaret’s and the Ward Residents Group, Dunbro Lane Residents Group, River Valley and Rathingle Residents Groups, Portmarnock Community Association, Stockhole Lane Residents’ Group and Knocksedan Management Company. We have also had many meetings with individual residents.
daa held a series of information meetings for eligible residents for the Voluntary Residential Noise Insulation Scheme. We have also met with individual eligible residents and group representatives regarding the Voluntary Dwelling Purchase Scheme.
In 2016, we held two public consultations. The first public consultation focused on the scoping of the Environmental Impact Assessment associated with the Change to Permitted Operations for North Runway. The second consultation centred on potential flight paths, criteria for their selection and potential mitigation measures. In total, 850 people attended both consultations. The reports from these consultations are available here.
In addition to our biannual Community Newsletter, our dedicated project website has over 760 subscribers to our regular project updates.
Condition 28 attached to the grant of permission for North Runway required the establishment of a Community Liaison Group involving representation of St. Margaret’s Community, Fingal County Council and daa. This group has been established and comprises of representatives from St. Margaret’s and The Ward Residents, St. Margaret’s Concerned Residents, Dunbro Lane Residents, Board of Management of St. Margaret’s National School, St. Margaret’s GAA Club, Irish Farmers Association, Fingal County Council and daa and is chaired by Dr. Danny O’Hare, former President of DCU.
The Dublin Airport Environmental Working Group (DAEWG) comprises of representatives from Santry Residents, Swords Tidy Towns, Malahide Community Forum, St. Margaret’s Concerned Residents, Portmarnock Community Association, Royal Oak Residents Association, River Valley and Rathingle Residents, Fingal County Council, the Irish Aviation Authority and daa, and is also chaired by Dr. Danny O’Hare. The group is scheduled to meet four times per year. Standing items for the meeting agenda include a business update on Dublin Airport, a report from Fingal County Council on planning matters relating to Dublin Airport, a report on aircraft noise, an update on water and air quality, and other items requested by members. The DAEWG is not a runway-specific group; however, as the project is of keen interest to members, it is a valuable forum through which project information is communicated.
We have ongoing engagement with local communities relating to all works associated with North Runway including regular project updates, advertising in local media and leaflet drops to local residents.
5. daa is not using appropriate noise contours to reflect the noise levels around Dublin Airport.
The standard method for assessing noise from airborne aircraft involves the production of noise contours which illustrate the spread of noise around the airport. The contours join together locations that are exposed to the same levels of noise. There are a number of different parameters than can be used to describe the effects of noise, many of which determine an ‘average’ level of noise across a given period. The choice of parameter depends on the purpose of the assessment. The most commonly used unit to rate airborne aircraft noise is the LAeq unit, known as the equivalent continuous sound level, which describes the average noise received at a point over a given time.
A common pair of parameters used for this purpose are the daytime level (LAeq,16h) and the night-time level (LAeq,8h) for an average summer day period. These illustrate the average level, as on a daily basis there will be some variation. The summer period is used as it is usually the busiest period for an airport. The contours can be prepared at a range of values which have different levels of significance, based on aircraft movements, types and associated noise emission levels for the given period. This approach is in line with international best practice and is used at a number of airports worldwide.
6. Noise Monitoring information is not being made available to the public because daa wants to hide the real noise levels.
Noise data from various permanent noise monitoring stations, is available on the Dublin Airport website for 2016 and can also be viewed here. Half yearly reports will be produced going forward. The locations of the permanent Noise Monitoring Terminals are shown on map below.
Permanent Noise Monitoring Locations
01. Bay Lane
02. St. Doolagh's
20. Coast Road
21. & 22. Monitoring noise produced by aircraft on the ground at a location close to the airport
8. daa does not need to amend current planning permission as the resulting increase in flight numbers is relatively low.
Amending the current planning permission is critical and of huge significance to Dublin Airport, Fingal and the whole of Ireland.
If airlines are unable to obtain early morning or late evening slots at Dublin, the result will be a reduction in air services, increased airfares and reduced business. This in turn would lead to lower competitiveness and loss of connectivity with Ireland’s customers in global markets. The scale of loss is of the order of 2.4m passengers in the first full year of North Runway operations, rising to 6.6m in 2037, with a total loss of 74m passengers by 2037.
9. There have been claims that Dublin Airport is the least regulated airport in Europe in terms of noise and that it is the only European “close in” airport that doesn’t have operating restrictions.
These statements are inaccurate. Regulations are specific to individual airports and European Regulations require that they are proportionate to the scale of the noise issue. There are examples of other airports as close or closer to their city centres that do not have night time restrictions, i.e. Copenhagen and Palma. There are also examples of other major European airports which operate without movement restrictions including Athens, Stockholm and Helsinki.
10. Growth in transfers seems to be driving some of the need for additional capacity. Becoming a hub is not good for Dublin.
By allowing airlines to consolidate passengers from many origins at one hub and then dispatching them to many destinations, a hub airport is able to provide its home city with a far greater number of direct destinations than would be feasible from a point-to-point airport only serving the domestic market. Connectivity to more destinations is the key to an airport facilitating trade, investment and growth.
Transfers support routes from Ireland that otherwise would not be viable on their own (i.e. long-haul flights will struggle to operate with less than 70% load factor; therefore, transfers contribute to a viable load factor above 75%).
As well as providing a great service for long-distance travellers, a hub is also of benefit to its own city and country. By allowing it to connect directly to a greater proportion of the world, it widens the geographic scope of the markets with which the Irish economy can do business, and, in return, attracts commercial interest from those looking to trade with and invest in other countries.
11. daa can grow in off-peak times and impose peak pricing to reduce pressure on capacity.
Growth cannot be made to occur in off-peak periods. Airlines schedule flights according to the imperatives of their business in a highly competitive and volatile market. Dublin’s traffic and growth is heavily dominated by overnighting aircraft (> 90% of short haul traffic) which must depart in the first wave in order to maximise utilisation of the asset over the course of the day. Network carriers need to synchronise their movements at Dublin to meet connections at larger hub airports.
Ryanair, which is currently the fastest growing carrier by volume in Dublin, is openly positioning itself as a more business-friendly carrier. Business passengers want to leave early in the morning and return in the evening. Recent Ryanair schedule alterations are focused on peak flights to key business cities including Brussels, Barcelona, Milan, Madrid, Rome and Amsterdam, competing directly with Dublin’s other key based carrier, Aer Lingus. This confirms airline preferences for peak operation on routes important to the business passenger segment. There has also been an increase in the number of people commuting internationally to work who must leave early in the morning.
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Change to Permitted Operations
Q. Why is a new runway needed for Dublin Airport?
Dublin Airport, as a key gateway, accounted for 85% of all air traffic in the Republic of Ireland and more than two thirds of all air travel in Ireland in 2016. The airport, which is a critical economic enabler, is currently full at key times of the day and is growing quickly. In 2016, traffic levels exceeded a record 27.9 million, an 11% increase compared to 2015. There has been a 6% increase in passenger numbers for Q2 2017 compared to the same period in 2016.
Dublin Airport had 47 airlines operating a total of 185 routes to 41 destinations in 2016. Long-haul traffic has grown by 12% in 2016, while short haul traffic increased by 11% during this time. Dublin Airport is currently ranked fifth in Europe for transatlantic connectivity, with services to 20 destinations in North America.
Dublin Airport’s North Runway will significantly improve Ireland’s connectivity, supporting additional trade, foreign direct investment and tourism. To view the benefits of North Runway click here.
Additional runway capacity is essential to facilitate expansion now and into the future. It is needed to allow Dublin Airport’s existing airline customers to expand their businesses and to enable new airlines to launch services to and from Dublin Airport. In 2016, 80% of slot times allocated to airlines for take-off and landing between 5am and midnight were fully utilised, and the airport is full or almost full for aircraft movements between 6am and 8pm.
The Government’s National Aviation Policy (NAP) supports plans to deliver the new runway at Dublin Airport to ensure that the airport has sufficient capacity to grow and to offer direct services to global emerging markets.
Q. Why does Dublin Airport want to maintain operational flexibility?
Dublin Airport wishes to maintain operational flexibility so that we can continue to cater for passenger demand.
Increasing Capacity - Aircraft movements have been steadily increasing from 170,000 in 2013 to 215,000 in 2016. Traffic forecasts indicate the potential for passenger throughput figures of up to 36 million by 2022 and up to 50 million by 2037. The existing runway network is now full for large parts of the operational day and the additional capacity that North Runway provides is required, particularly at peak periods in early morning and late evening, to service the growing demand.
Developing Connectivity - Dublin competes with other European airports. In 2016, Dublin Airport was Europe’s fifth largest gateway to North America with growth in connectivity of over 65% since the opening of Terminal 2 in 2010. Proposed restrictions in the 11pm to 7am period have the potential to limit scope for developing those long-haul services to North America. At 3,110m, North Runway can facilitate flights to long-haul destinations such as Africa, Asia and South America. Attracting new long-haul services, ahead of other European airports, could be jeopardised by restrictions which impede operational flexibility.
Connecting passengers increased by 23% in 2016 at Dublin Airport. An increasing proportion of long-haul passengers are seeking to connect onto early morning UK and European flights. The proposed restrictions would negatively impact opportunities for flight connections. This reduces the likelihood of new routes being established.
Changing travel patterns mean that people now want to make same-day business trips, requiring more capacity in the early morning and late evening peaks.
Q. What operational restrictions currently exist at Dublin Airport?
Dublin Airport is currently licensed to operate without restrictions. Under the current grant of permission for North Runway, restrictive operational conditions would apply airport wide after the new runway becomes operational.
Q. What are Conditions 3(d) and 5 and how will these conditions restrict airport operations?
Planning Permission for North Runway included 31 conditions. Conditions 3(d) and 5 are the only conditions which daa is seeking to change. daa has consistently signalled its concerns regarding the constraints on flight movements which would be imposed airport-wide once North Runway becomes operational. For more information on the Proposed Change to Permitted Operations click here.
- Condition 3(d) prohibits use of North Runway for landings and take-offs between the hours of 11pm and 7am.
- Condition 5 states that, on completion of construction of the new runway, the average number of night time aircraft movements at the airport shall not exceed 65 per night (between 11pm and 7am).
These restrictions would result in lower capacity on two runways at key operational periods than are currently available with one. An airport-wide limit on flights between 11pm and 7am and the proposed closure of the new runway during these hours means daa would be turning away significant numbers of passengers the day the new runway became operational
It should be noted that International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) policies and procedures recommend Member States review noise at airports on a case-by-case basis and should only apply operating restrictions after consideration of the other measures of the Balanced Approach, the agreed international industry standard for dealing with airport noise. In this context, while some airports employ operating restrictions, many other European airports, including Rome and Athens, for example, do not.
Q. If Heathrow has just 16 night-time flights, why is Dublin Airport seeking unrestricted flight movements?
At Heathrow, these 16 fights relate solely to a limit on arrivals during a period between 4.30am and 6.00am, typically the least busiest time of the flying day. In Dublin, the proposed restrictions relate to flights operating between 11pm and 7am, which include two of the busiest hours for any airport (the 7am hour for departing flights and the 11pm hour for arrivals). Between 11pm and 7am, Dublin Airport currently handles c. 100 flights per night during our busy summer months. If conditions are not changed, that number would reduce to 65 after North Runway opens and would result in a significant reduction in traffic and connectivity.
Q. What happens if you fail to have the conditions amended – will you still build the runway?
We have announced our intention to proceed with the runway. We believe that the case for changing the two restrictive conditions is compelling and we will be making that case as part of an independent assessment process.
Q. Why is Dublin Airport the only airport that incentivises night flights?
daa has discounts for departures from 5-6am, but no discounts for night-time flying. daa offers early-morning discounts as a direct result of currently only having one main runway which is at capacity for most of the operational day. This is exactly why we need to build North Runway.
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Construction and Traffic Management
Q. What is the length of the new runway?
Dublin Airport’s new runway will be 3,110m.
Q. Where will it be in relation to the existing main runway?
North Runway will be located approximately 1.7km to the north of the existing main runway 10/28.
Q. When will construction be complete and the new runway operational?
Site preparation works are nearing completion. These preparatory works included road realignments and construction, services diversions, site clearance and site fencing. The main works associated with the construction of the runway is scheduled to commence in 2018 and North Runway is due to be delivered by 2021.
Q. Will the new runway be extended if you are not successful in getting planning conditions changed?
The length of the runway is not associated in any way with the conditions we are seeking to change. daa intends to build the current permitted runway at 3,110m.
Q. What changes have taken place on the roads nearby?
The location of the new runway means that some existing roads close to the airport were re-routed or re-aligned. You can view the details of the road changes here.
Q. How will construction traffic impact local roads?
An Environmental Protection Plan has been prepared in consultation with Fingal County Council. In addition, a Construction Environmental Management Plan has also been developed. These plans include measures to minimise disruption to the local community in terms of traffic, noise, dust and other construction related issues.
Noise levels will be regularly monitored at sensitive locations at site boundaries and during periods of particularly heavy construction.
The current permission allows for construction works to take place between 7am and 7pm Monday to Friday and from 8am to 1pm on Saturdays. Work on Sundays and Bank Holidays will require approval by Fingal County Council. We may need to work longer hours at certain periods of the project and will liaise with local communities in advance, should the need arise.
Q. Will you be building dual carriageways or other public roads?
daa is not building or planning to build dual carriageways or other major public roads. Fingal County Council is responsible for the construction and maintenance of public roads. Details of the road modifications carried out during the first construction package associated with the North Runway project can be found here.
Q. Will you be tunnelling under the runway to accommodate the Metro?
No. The proposed exit route for the metro is beyond the eastern end of the new runway.
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Airport and Runway Operation
Q. What is Option 7B? Are you going to operate the runway in accordance with Option 7B, as permitted?
One of the key pillars of the Balanced Approach to noise management, which is the agreed international industry standard for dealing with airport noise, is the use of operational procedures to minimise noise impacts whilst allowing the airport to grow. Noise preferential runway usage is one such operational procedure that can provide significant noise benefits to communities.
Option 7B was agreed as part of the 2007 runway planning permission as a means of delivering noise abatement performance. We will abide by Option 7B which focuses operations on the existing runway for the majority of the time.
Mode of Operation 7B provides that:
the parallel runways (10R-28L (existing main runway) and 10L-28R (North Runway) shall be used in preference to the cross runway, 16-34;
when winds are westerly, Runway 28L shall be preferred for arriving aircraft; either Runway 28L or 28R shall be used for departing aircraft as determined by air traffic control.
when winds are easterly, either Runway 10L or 10R as determined by air traffic control shall be preferred for arriving aircraft. Runway 10R shall be preferred for departing aircraft.
Q. Why will a divergence be necessary when the new runway is operational?
Condition 3 of An Bord Pleanála’s grant of permission for North Runway introduces a preferred runway concept – Option 7b – to lessen the impact of aircraft noise on local communities. Most of the time the runways will be operated in segregated mode, i.e. one runway for all arrivals, the other for all departures. However, there will be occasions during peak hours when runways will need to operate in mixed mode, i.e. both runways used simultaneously for arrivals and departures. For safety and aircraft separation reasons, international standards for mixed mode operations require that aircraft courses diverge by at least 15°, approximately one nautical mile after take-off. Before any proposed flight path procedure and/or mode of operation can be finalised and implemented for North Runway, a comprehensive safety case and assessment will have to be completed by the Air Navigation Service Provider. This will occur before the opening of North Runway.
In line with International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) guidance, the original Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIAR) incorporated a divergence up to 15 degrees. The proposed change to permitted operations application and associated contours reflect the latest operating requirements, and seeks to minimise noise impact on local communities. Ultimately, any change to permitted operations, including any flight path divergences, will require the approval of the appropriate authority.
The EIAR which is currently being prepared, will make an assessment of the implications of the proposed change in permitted operations and this requires a decision about the Noise Preferential Routes (NPRs) that will be used. Feedback has been received from the Public Consultation on Flight Paths and Change to Permitted Operations that has indicated that there is a preference for Scenario B, which involves: 'Straight out on south runway; split divergence of 15° and 75° on departures for North Runway depending on ultimate destination of the aircraft'. This will now be shared with the IAA-ANSP (Air Navigation Service Provider), which has overall responsibility for airspace design. More information on the Public Consultation is available here.
Q. What have you been doing to maximise usage of the current runway system?
Efforts to enhance runway capacity have been ongoing at Dublin Airport for many years. The Runway Process Improvement Group, comprising of the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA), based-airlines and Dublin Airport Operations, has a remit to increase runway capacity at Dublin Airport.
Specialist consultancy and analysis is undertaken by NATS Analytics, which conducted a detailed capacity assessment in 2013. This has formed the basis of a multi-year work programme to incrementally increase runway capacity.
As a result of the work of this collaborative partnership, we were able to accommodate 35 departures in the peak hour of the morning in time for summer 2016 (two years earlier than planned). A similar number of departures were accommodated in the peak hour in summer 2017. This was achieved by reducing separation between successive departures and the implementation of Airport Collaborative Decision Making (A-CDM). These efforts also involve negotiating with the UK's en-route Air Navigation Service Provide (ANSP) in relation to reduced in-flight separation trails when entering UK airspace. It is anticipated that the maximum number of departing aircraft that could be achieved in that peak hour, given the need to allow runway time for aircraft arriving, is 39.
Capacity in the peak hours is already constrained, i.e. demand outstrips capacity. For a number of years, Dublin Airport has been designated by the Irish Government as a Coordinated Airport under the EU Slot Regulation. As a coordinated airport, an air carrier may not operate without a slot allocated by the airport coordinator.
Q. Why can Gatwick Airport facilitate 40 million passengers on a single runway and Dublin is almost full at 27 million?
The passenger numbers that can be accommodated at a single runway airport is significantly impacted by a range of factors including:
- The size of aircraft using the airport: Gatwick has bigger aircraft using its airport than at Dublin (on average 154 passengers per aircraft versus 130 at Dublin); therefore, its runway accommodates more passengers when compared to Dublin.
Operational procedures adopted by the aviation authorities: Gatwick has more permitted departures per hour and its air traffic controllers adopt different procedures in the air. Aircraft depart from Gatwick on diverging routes after take-off, allowing them a minimum interval of 60 seconds between successive departures. This is not the case at Dublin; aircraft follow the same route after take-off, which requires a minimum of c. 80 seconds between successive departures.
- We have been working with the IAA and airlines for many years to ensure we maximise runway capacity whilst maintaining safety at all times. We use the same specialists as Gatwick to advise us on procedures and techniques.
Q. Have you carried out a cost benefit analysis?
- As a commercial semi-state company, daa is required to ensure that its capital appraisal and management processes are consistent with the Department of Finance guidelines in this area.
- A detailed economic assessment, undertaken by economic consultants, Intervistas, shows North Runway will contribute over 31,000 additional jobs by 2043 as well as making a €2.2bn incremental economic contribution the Irish economy.
- North Runway, in common with other developments by daa, is funded without any recourse to the public purse.
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Environment and Health
Q. What work have you done regarding the environmental impact of a new runway?
The Environmental Impact Statement and planning appeals process undertaken in advance of the grant of permission was independent and very extensive. It concluded that the mitigation measures proposed by daa or applied by the planning authorities would ensure that any environmental impact would be minimised.
We are committed to ensuring that this is the case for both the construction and operation of the runway.
Q. What is daa's position on carbon emissions?
We are committed to managing our impact on the environment and carbon emissions. The runway development went through a rigorous environmental impact assessment process in order to receive permission. We are now progressing with the project as permitted and will separately seek to amend two operating conditions relating to that permission.
Dublin Airport manages and reduces its own direct emissions in line with its obligations under the various National and EU energy efficiency and carbon regulations. Dublin Airport actively participates in the voluntary Airport Carbon Accreditation Programme and has consistently achieved reductions in carbon emissions since entering the programme in 2009. Our Mobility Management Plan specifies how we address staff and passenger access to the airport and sets out measures to increase the use of sustainable transport modes. We fully support the provision of a Metro system at the airport. In terms of emissions from transport to and from the airport, we have increased the share of passengers and staff using public transport to get to the airport and the number of bus services to and from the airport continues to grow every year. Dublin Airport has more than 1,600 local, urban, national bus and coach movements per day and is the country’s largest bus station.
While Dublin Airport is not directly responsible for the control of 3rd party emissions such as those from surface transport access or airside activities such as aircraft emissions or energy used in tenant buildings, we do try to influence these emissions at the airport by working with the airport stakeholders.
Due to the international dimension of aviation, the control of international aircraft emissions is at supra national level. Aircraft emissions from flights between countries within EU/EEA (European Economic Area) area are included within the EU Emissions Trading Scheme which is one of the parcel of measures identified by EU to achieve a 20% reduction in CO2 by 2020 and a 40% reduction by 2030.
To complement these technology improvements and in recognition of the need to help manage the growth in international aircraft emissions agreement on a global Carbon Off-Setting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) was reached in ICAO on 6 October 2016. Ireland, as part of the 44 member states of the European Civil Aviation Conference, has made a declaration to adhere to the international scheme from its first implementation phase from 2021.
The off-setting scheme proposed by ICAO will enable carbon neutral growth from 2020 and as such will result in airlines paying to off-set their additional carbon emissions through the purchase of carbon credits. This means that airlines can grow but the additional carbon emissions will be off-set and paid for by the airlines. daa fully supports the adoption of such a scheme.
This CORSIA scheme is one of the measures supported by the international aviation industry to address the climate change challenges. Since 2009, the aviation sector has had a common set of goals for taking climate action and is meeting these goals:
• 1.5% per annum average fuel efficiency increase until 2020, followed by;
• Stabilising net CO2 emissions from aviation from 2020; and
• Cutting net CO2 emissions by 2050 to half of what they were in 2005.
These targets are ambitious and robust, particularly for a sector that is growing to meet the needs of the world’s economies and society. The industry has been taking impressive collaborative efforts to meet these goals, with representatives from airlines; airports; air traffic management; and the manufacturing sector all taking part in the process. In 2016 a new CO2 standard for aircraft entering the international fleet was announced. daa takes its responsibilities to climate change seriously and has committed to managing its own carbon emissions, in line with all relevant public sector requirements. We will also continue to influence others to manage their emissions
Q. Is air quality monitored at Dublin Airport?
daa monitors air quality at Dublin Airport and surrounding areas. Data is collected at onsite monitoring stations and diffusion tube monitoring stations in surrounding areas. Data collected includes nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate matter. daa publishes air quality monitoring results annually, and current and historic reports are available here. Results have been consistently below threshold limits set by EU regulations.
Q. Is air quality and fuel dumping a problem at Dublin Airport?
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Ireland experiences some of the best air quality in Europe (source: EPA Air Quality in Ireland 2014). Unlike the UK, and in particular London where the EU limit values are regularly breached, Dublin does not experience significant air quality issues.
There is an Air Quality Monitoring Programme in place at Dublin airport and in surrounding areas. Monitoring results are shared with communities and are available on the Dublin Airport website here. Average monthly nitrogen dioxide concentrations in 2016 at all monitoring locations were well below the Irish limit values. We are not complacent about our good air quality and we continue to focus on initiatives to improve efficiency of airside and landside traffic at the airport.
Fuel dumping rarely occurs at Dublin Airport, and only takes place in emergencies, under the strict control of the Air Navigation Service Provider.
Q. Has daa commissioned a health impact assessment of the proposed changes to planning conditions?
Yes. Noise and emissions are amongst the factors being considered as part of an independent Health Impact Assessment and Environmental Impact Assessment.
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Q. Will there be an increase in noise levels over my house?
This very much depends on where you live in relation to the airport and the flight path. Every effort will be taken to minimise the impact of North Runway on local communities. We will continue to work with the IAA and airlines to put operating procedures in place to limit noise impact, i.e. noise preferential routes, environmental noise corridors, noise abatement procedures and continuous descent approach. We have published details of projected future noise contours once North Runway is operational and these contours can be viewed here.
Q. Does Dublin Airport permit the use of noisier aircraft that are banned at other European cities?
No. In common with airports across Europe, noisier aircraft (referred to as Chapter 2 aircraft) are banned from Dublin Airport. Furthermore, in 2015 over 95% of aircraft using Dublin Airport were the quietest types (known as Chapter 4) compared to 83% in 2008 and 46% in 2003. This reflects the larger number of new aircraft used by Dublin Airport’s largest carriers, namely Ryanair and Aer Lingus.
Q. What are noise contours?
Noise around airports is measured by calculating long-term average noise levels and modelling them in sound contours. These contours show a set of closed curves on a map and are analogous to the contours on an ordinary map showing places at the same height. Each contour shows places that are exposed to the same amounts of noise from aircraft, so they allow mitigation measures to be tailored to very specific areas. The contour closest to the noise source will have the highest number and those furthest away, the lowest number.
The noise contours used for the North Runway were developed by acoustic specialists and are modelled by calculating long-term average noise levels during a busy 92-day period in the busiest summer period, thus providing worst-case noise impacts. It is important to point out that the noise contours are based on the averaging out of aircraft noise over this 92-day period and are not based on one-off noise events. This is a common approach used by airports in setting out noise contours.
Noise is a complex issue which was the focus of our recent consultation events, as well as separate HIA and EIAR studies wherein best international research will be assessed by a Competent Authority independent of daa. Some of the noise thresholds being cited by parties opposing the North Runway development fall well below achievable levels in most urban areas that have no airport noise or in many rural areas.
Further information on noise is available here.
Q. What is an SEL (Sound Exposure Level or Single Event Level)?
One-off aircraft noise events (Single Event or Sound Exposure Levels) reflect the noise of a single aircraft event. Average noise contours are based on the average noise experienced over a defined period.
Q. What does LAeq mean?
When a noise varies over time, the LAeq is the equivalent continuous sound which would contain that same sound energy as the varying sound. It is common practice to measure noise using the average (A-weighting) setting.
Q. What is a Flight Path?
Flight paths are the designated routes aircraft follow under the direction of Air Traffic Control (ATC). While flight paths are often shown as single lines on a map, it is not always possible for aircraft to fly exactly along that line. In practice, flight paths will vary either side of the route, within a designated flight corridor. ATC manages aircraft for landing or take-off along specific flight paths as well as keeping aircraft at safe distances from each other in the air and on the ground. Safe movement of aircraft is a vital consideration in the development of flight paths.
Q. What is a Noise Preferential Route?
Unless directed otherwise by ATC, all aircraft taking off from Dublin Airport are required to follow specific flight paths called Noise Preferential Routes (NPRs). To minimise disruption, NPRs are designed to avoid the overflight of built-up areas, where possible. NPRs are paths or corridors (1.8km at their widest points) that aircraft follow from take-off until being directed by ATC onto their main air traffic routes, typically at 3,000 feet altitude above mean sea level. Aircraft normally travel in the middle of this corridor allowing 900m of corridor space on either side of the aircraft. However, the precise path followed within the corridor may vary depending on factors including navigational equipment, the type and weight of aircraft and weather conditions (particularly winds that may cause drifting). Aircraft flying inside this corridor are considered to be flying on-track.
Q. What is a flight corridor?
A flight corridor is defined as the airspace within which most aircraft must arrive and depart to minimise noise impact.
Q. What is the difference between a Noise Preferential Route and a flight corridor?
Each NPR is contained in a flight corridor. At its widest point this corridor extends for 900 metres either side of the NPR centreline. Aircraft flying inside this corridor are considered to be flying on-track.
Q. When does aircraft turning take place?
Once an aircraft reaches the end of the NPR, normally at an altitude of 3,000 feet, a controller will turn it onto a more direct heading to its destination. ATC can turn aircraft off NPRs below 3,000 feet for safety reasons, for example to avoid storms.
Q. What is the current operation at Dublin Airport?
The existing flight paths follow a straight line from the end of the runway for both arrivals and departures.
For most aircraft operating from Dublin Airport, departures from all runways (except easterly departures on the existing southern runway) must maintain course straight out for five nautical miles after take-off before commencing a turn, unless otherwise cleared by Air Traffic Control (1 nautical mile = 1,852 metres). Easterly departures on the existing southern runway must maintain course straight out for five nautical miles before commencing a turn to the north, or to six nautical miles before commencing turn to the south.
Note: Turboprop aircraft are generally turned earlier for reasons of efficiency.
Q. Who has completed the modelling and forecasting for the new runway?
Bickerdike Allen Partners LLP (BAP) has produced the noise contours. BAP is an integrated practice of architects, acousticians, and construction technologists with expertise in planning and noise, the control of noise vibration and the sound insulation and acoustic treatment of buildings. They have worked on similar projects with numerous airports across the UK and Europe, including Manchester, London Heathrow, London Gatwick, London City, Lisbon and Malpensa Milan.
Q. Will bigger aircraft cause noise contours to change?
Aircraft are now quieter than previously anticipated and this is also a factor that was considered when new contours were drawn up. In 2015 over 95% of aircraft using Dublin Airport were the quietest types (known as Chapter 4) compared to 83% in 2008 and 46% in 2003. Larger aircraft also help to reduce the number of movements as they can carry more passengers. Noise contours are developed on the basis of our expectations of future types of aircraft that will be used at the airport.
Q. Is there independent review and analysis of noise contours and mapping at Dublin Airport?
Noise mapping and oversight involves multiple parties of which daa - which is designated as the noise mapping body for airports – is just one. Responsibilities in this area include:
- Local Authorities are responsible for producing Noise Action Plans.
- The EPA has overall oversight of the noise mapping and planning process and is responsible for reporting the results to the EU every five years.
- The designated Competent Authority, will be charged with independently assessing noise contours and with ensuring that required noise controls/restrictions at airports are appropriate and in line with the Balanced Approach.
Q. What is Regulation 598/2014?
Regulation 598/2014 relates to a new EU regulation which became applicable across the EU in June 2016. These EU-wide regulatory changes relate to the assessment of noise at airports and to the evolution of best practice procedures to be followed.
Directive 2002/30/EC has been replaced by Regulation 598/2014. This regulation sets out the mandatory procedure to be followed when introducing operating restrictions at airports.
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Q. What is the Balanced Approach to Aircraft Noise Mitigation?
International best practice on noise management at airports focuses on the Balanced Approach. The four pillars of the Balanced Approach are:
- Land-use planning
A new runway has been in successive County Development plans since the 1970s and Dublin Airport has benefitted from that far-sighted planning process that has kept the approaches to the runways largely clear of development. The new runway will be built on the airport’s own land bank and unlike many other international airports, we have very few people living under our flight paths which means that land-use planning has been effective to date.
- Noise Abatement Operational Procedures
At Dublin Airport we have worked closely with the IAA on noise abatement procedures to minimise the effects of aircraft noise on local communities. North Runway will be operated according to Option 7b which introduces the concept of a preferred runway to lessen the impact of aircraft noise on local communities. Along with our airport stakeholders, we have implemented a wide range of operational procedures to minimise noise. These include:
- Environmental corridors where aircraft adhere strictly to flight paths
- Continuous descent rules for arriving aircraft
- Noise abatement procedures for departing aircraft
- Restricted reverse thrust for aircraft
- Designated times and location on the airfield for engine test run ups.
- Reduction of Noise at Source - Quieter Aircraft
At Dublin Airport, we are fortunate to have a large proportion of aircraft that meet the most stringent noise classes (Chapter 4). In 2015, almost 95% of aircraft operating here were the quietest models. There is a ban on the use of the noisiest aircraft (Chapter 2) at the airport.
- 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.
Further information on noise at Dublin Airport including information on the Noise & Flight Track Monitoring Service (NFTMS) can be found by clicking here.
Information on the Balanced Approach to noise management and mitigation measures is available here.
A brochure on Measuring, Managing and Mitigating Airport Noise is also available by clicking here.
Q. What mitigation measures are currently in place?
Under Conditions 6 and 7 of the planning permission associated with North Runway, daa has developed voluntary noise insulation schemes for schools and residential dwellings located in the 60dB and 63dB contours, respectively. All eligible schools and residential dwelling owners have been contacted. daa is also offering a Voluntary Dwelling Purchase Scheme to eligible residents.
daa will also consider mitigations it could put in place to address issues which may be identified in the EIAR as a result of a change to permitted operations, should this be implemented. These may include insulation measures for dwellings located in 55dB LAeq 8hr night and 60dB LAeq 16hr day contours.
Q. Who is eligible for the schemes?
- Dwellings which fall within the 69dB LAeq 16hr day contour are currently eligible for the Voluntary Residential Dwelling Purchase Scheme.
- Dwellings which fall within the 63dB LAeq 16hr day contour are currently eligible for the Voluntary Residential Noise Insulation Scheme. It should also be noted that daa has extended participation in the scheme to over 40% more houses than required by the grant of permission because we will have regard to the 63dB LAeq, 16hr day noise contours submitted to An Bord Pleanala in 2007 rather than the current forecasts which would encompass a much smaller area.
- Schools which fall within the 60dB LAeq, 16hr day contour are eligible for the schools insulation programme.
Q. If the voluntary residential dwelling purchase offers are not taken up by eligible dwelling owners, will they be offered to other residents who are currently ineligible?
No. The Voluntary Residential Dwelling Purchase Scheme is non-transferrable, and only residents who have been offered to participate in the Scheme are eligible.
Q. Will there be a requirement for Compulsory Purchase Orders of dwellings with the new runway?
There is no requirement for Compulsory Purchase Orders to facilitate North Runway.
Q. What level of insulation will be available as part of the residential noise insulation scheme?
A package comprising some or all of the following measures will be available as part of the scheme: double or secondary glazing for all windows and external doors, attic insulation comprising layers of insulation, and acoustic solutions for vents and chimneys.
It should be noted that Condition 7 of the 2007 planning permission stipulates that: “Prior to commencement of development, a scheme for the voluntary noise insulation of existing dwellings shall be submitted to and agreed in writing by the planning authority. The scheme shall include all dwellings predicted to fall within the contour of 63dB LAeq 16 hours within 12 months of the planned opening of the runway for use. The scheme shall include for a review every two years of the dwellings eligible for insulation”. This means that a review will take place every two years which will include the updating of the 63dB contour to determine if any additional dwellings become eligible to avail of the scheme.
Installation works for the Residential Noise Insulation Scheme have yet to commence, so any double-glazing works which are ongoing in local communities are not associated with North Runway.
Q. What level of insulation will be available for schools?
High acoustic performance replacement double glazing including secondary glazing, where required, and acoustic ventilation units. There will also be loft insulation in roof spaces, as required, and ceiling upgrades, as required.
Q. How will I know if my house is eligible?
daa has undertaken an extensive engagement programme in relation to the Voluntary Residential Noise Insulation Scheme and all eligible residents have been contacted directly.
Q. How does mitigation and compensation measures at Dublin Airport compare with those at other airports like Heathrow?
It can be very misleading to compare headline project costs and mitigation measures across markets but the major differential is the size of the impacted population rather than mitigation measures available.
The mitigation and compensation measures being offered to affected householders in Dublin surpass those being considered in many other locations including Heathrow. At many airports, residents are merely offered a fixed amount for insulation, which they then have to source and install. This takes no account of differing costs due to the nature of the property in question. In contrast, daa will survey properties, provide a complete insulation scheme, and take responsibility for the entire installation and quality control process. While this is a more costly approach, it will provide a long-term, effective solution for affected residents.
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Q. What public consultations have taken place?
Engagement with local communities is a priority at daa. A number of public consultation events on key issues relating to North Runway took place between June and August 2016 and October and December 2016.
In addition, our extensive consultation programme includes regular project updates, tailored door-to-door leaflet drops, newsletters, videos, information workshops, advertisements in local newspapers, posters and display materials in public places such as local authority offices and in public libraries. We undertake interviews with national and local media, meetings with community groups, businesses and residents as well as meetings and consultations with statutory consultees and local and national policy makers
We also have extensive information on this website www.northrunway.ie and a comprehensive and ongoing communications programme in place.
Q. What actions have been undertaken based on the feedback from the first Public Consultation?
As a direct result of feedback from local residents during our first consultation in June and July 2016, the following actions were undertaken:
- In addition to our permanent noise monitoring terminals, further monitoring for aircraft noise has been carried out at a number of locations.
- The potential impact of vibration on dwellings caused by aircraft noise is being considered in the EIAR associated with the proposed change in permitted operations.
- The potential effects of odours from aircraft fuel will also be considered.
- In addition to our permanent air quality monitoring terminals, further monitoring has been undertaken.
- An assessment will be undertaken of Dublin Airport’s accessibility in the context of planned public transport infrastructure such as Metro North, Luas, Cross City and Swiftway Bus Rapid Transit.
Q. What actions have been undertaken based on the feedback from the second Public Consultation?
Our second public consultation in October 2016 focused on potential departure Noise Preferential Routes (NPRs), the criteria for their selection, and associated potential mitigation measures. Steps being undertaken following this consultation include:
- The carrying out of an impact assessment of the proposed change to permitted operations using the chosen NPR.
- Finalising an EIAR which will include a suite of mitigation measures to address North Runway environmental impacts.
- Using the EIAR in the review of the noise situation at Dublin Airport which the designated Competent Authority will undertake once appointed
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We are always happy to hear your feedback about North Runway.
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