One person was responsible for 9 in 10 of all noise complaints from planes using Dublin Airport last year, according to new figures released by the airport’s operator, DAA.
They reveal that a resident filed a total of 12,272 complaints with the DAA during 2021, a daily average of 34 cases.
Serial whistleblower reports accounted for 90% of all notices received by the airport operator complaining about noise from aircraft taking off and landing at Dublin Airport during 2021.
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That’s nearly double the 6,227 complaints made by the same person in 2020, despite the total number of aircraft movements at Dublin Airport last year rising by only around 10% to almost 91,000, as traffic Air travel continued to be affected by the reduction in international travel caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly in the first half of 2021.
The unidentified whistleblower, who is believed to live in Ongar, north-west Dublin, has been largely responsible for the dramatic increase in complaints made to the DAA since 2019.
Before that, the DAA received about 1,500 noise complaints a year, but last year the total was 13,569.
However, the figure would have been only 1,296 if cases brought by the serial whistleblower are excluded.
As the number of flights has returned to near pre-pandemic levels in 2022, the same person has already filed a total of 5,276 complaints in the first three months of this year, a daily average of 59 cases, out of a total of 5573 registered. by DAA.
However, the number of unique people who filed complaints with the DAA last year was just 191, down from 128 in 2020.
The vast majority of complaints are lodged by residents living near Dublin Airport and in the flight paths of aircraft, particularly Portmarnock, Swords, The Ward and St Margaret’s.
However, complaints have been made from residents of the south side of the town, including Blackrock, Dún Laoghaire, Ballybrack, Killiney and Sallynoggin, as well as from Dunboyne, Co Meath.
The DAA Flight Tracking and Noise Monitoring System, which uses seven fixed noise monitoring terminals in North Dublin, shows that approximately 97% of commercial flights using Dublin Airport adhered to the designated flight on approach and takeoff last year.
Under a noise management plan, aircraft taking off from Dublin Airport must adhere to a “preferential noise path” (a flight path designed to avoid overflying built-up areas where possible) and maintain a straight course for five nautical miles or reach an altitude of 3,000 feet before beginning a turn.
A terminal located on Bay Lane to monitor flights leaving the main runway recorded 160 occasions in the first half of 2021 when aircraft noise reached 80 decibels.
The vast majority of complaints relate to noise from planes using Dublin Airport at night.
They also relate to aircraft taking off from the main runway heading west.
A DAA spokesman declined to comment on the high volume of complaints filed by a single person, but said airport operators were committed to working with communities around the airport on issues such as aircraft noise.
The spokesman noted that aircraft noise was the joint responsibility of Dublin Airport, the Irish Aviation Authority and the airlines using the airport.
DAA said it responded to each individual complainant about the issues raised.
The spokesman said the DAA had introduced an online system called Webtrak which allowed the public to access the flight paths and noise levels of aircraft using Dublin Airport.
“The system provides information on the origin of the flight, the destination, the type of aircraft, the flight route and the noise level recorded in the airport’s noise monitoring terminals,” he added.
DAA said the system also provided a streamlined way for people to file noise complaints.
The newly established Aircraft Noise Competent Authority has recommended the introduction of a noise fee scheme for night flights at Dublin Airport as part of an application by the DAA to amend the conditions attached to planning permission for a new runway.
The ANCA has also proposed a voluntary noise insulation scheme for all residences that would be exposed to aircraft noise above 55 decibels.
Separately, DAA has introduced a voluntary home buyout scheme for any residence exposed to noise levels above 69 decibels by the time the new north runway is operational.
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