Significant airport noise & health issues for new areas of Swords, Malahide and Portmarnock

7th September, 2019

Residents of south Swords, most of Malahide and now all of Portmarnock need to look at the proposed Dublin Airport Noise Zones that were published this week in the Draft Airport Local Area Plan. Many will see that they will be in Noise Zone C where there will be significant noise disruption and potential resulting adverse health impacts.

The key point is that in Noise Zone C Fingal County Council would require noise insulation in a planning application for a new home, but crucially for residents, homes already in these zones are not currently covered by Dublin Airport Authorities (DAA) noise insulation scheme. I have asked the Council to publish a list of estates, streets and roads within Noise Zone C and more detailed maps. The DAA needs to dramatically expand its noise insulation scheme.

“I think Fingal County Council has quite a challenge on its hands trying to square several conflicting roles.”

The Local Area Plan (LAP) in many respects is very limited in its scope. Primarily it is focussed on the land use of Dublin Airport. But this area of land has huge impacts on people living in its hinterland which are not within the direct scope of the plan. However we hear a lot in the LAP about the wider economic impact and even some references to the wider climatic impact of the airport. However there is no detail on the wider health impact of the airport and the new runway. This is a key shortcoming considering that one of the purposes of the LAP is to protect public health.

I think Fingal County Council has quite a challenge on its hands trying to square several conflicting roles it now holds in relation to DAA and the overall public good in Fingal – the fact that the rates income of Fingal County Council is heavily dependent on DAA, the fact that there will be upcoming pressure from DAA on Fingal to loosen flight restrictions for the new runway and the fact that at the same time Fingal is expected to be wholly impartial in its new Airport Noise Regulator role.

Fingal County Council itself outlined that its planning function in relation to DAA meant it was not best placed to be an independent noise regulator but the Minister pushed on regardless and officially appointed Fingal County Council as the Airport Noise Regulator this week.