Alliance MLA: ‘Noise cap at Belfast City Airport must be adhered to’

File photo dated 10/02/11 of a general view of George Best Belfast City Airport, as Stormont's infrastructure minister has said a seat sales restriction at the airport should be removed. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday January 2, 2017. Chris Hazzard endorsed in full the recommendations of an independent inquiry which called for the step.  Paul Faith/PA Wire
File photo dated 10/02/11 of a general view of George Best Belfast City Airport, as Stormont's infrastructure minister has said a seat sales restriction at the airport should be removed. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday January 2, 2017. Chris Hazzard endorsed in full the recommendations of an independent inquiry which called for the step. Paul Faith/PA Wire

Alliance Infrastructure spokesperson Kellie Armstrong MLA has said new noise controls at Belfast City Airport must be adhered to, after it was announced a restriction on the on the number of departure seats sold there is due to be lifted.

Stormont’s infrastructure minister has said a seat sales restriction at George Best Belfast City Airport should be removed.

Chris Hazzard endorsed in full the recommendations of an independent inquiry which called for the step.

The airport is proposing to replace the cap with noise controls and the minister said technical issues are still to be resolved in that area. The Planning Appeals Commission (PAC) found residents living more than 5km away should not face high volumes.

The airport wants to change its planning agreement, removing a restriction on the number of departure seats it can sell in a year, currently capped at two million. Residents have led a long-running campaign of opposition based around rising noise levels.

The decision, which follows a public inquiry, will mean the two million seats cap will go, with new noise controls installed.

Alliance MLA Kellie Armstrong said: “The cap has always been a poor proxy for stringent noise controls, so this decision is welcome,” said Ms Armstrong.

“However, we must ensure the new planned noise controls are adhered to, as residents have genuine concerns about the levels.

“Belfast City Airport is one of our most valuable transport assets, particularly for business. However, the airport and its flight path are surrounded by a dense environment of homes throughout East Belfast, South Belfast and North Down.

“There must be a balance struck between the recognition of the airport as one of the key economic drivers of Belfast’s development, and the rights of residents to be protected from excessive noise and other disturbance due to its operations.”