George Best Belfast City Airport Planning Agreement Modification Process

In March 2012 GBBCA submitted a request to the Department to vary the terms of their 1997 Planning Agreement (modified in 2008).

Modification of Planning Agreement

The Airport requested that the Seats for Sale restriction be removed from the Agreement and replaced with a noise contour control cap and other noise control measures. The proposal was accompanied by supporting information including economic and environmental appraisals. A revised proposal and further supporting information were submitted in December 2013 and the Airport submitted further information in May 2014 and July 2014.

A public inquiry into the Airport’s proposals and the responses to them was held in May 2015. The Planning Appeals Commission's report of the public inquiry can be viewed using the link below.

On 22 July 2019, the Department for Infrastructure signed a new Modified Planning Agreement with George Best Belfast City Airport which will control operations at the Airport with immediate effect.

This Agreement endorses the recommendations of the Planning Appeals Commission independent report of the public inquiry. It establishes a more effective noise management system at the Airport and removes the Seats for Sale restriction. This should achieve a better balance between the socio-economic benefits of airport expansion and the need to protect the environment and quality of life for the surrounding community.

The Airport will be required to submit an Annual Performance Report by 31 March each year to the Department detailing the Airport’s compliance with all obligations and restrictions within the Agreement. If there has been any non-compliance or there is a risk of non-compliance of the noise control contour within the incoming years, the Airport shall agree actions with the Department to rectify the situation.

The new modified agreement can be viewed using the link below.

Ombudsman’s Report

On 1 February 2018, the Department received an Investigation Report from the Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman into a complaint regarding delayed flights after 9.30pm at the George Best Belfast City Airport. The Department has been working to implement the recommendations of the report and has now compiled guidance on the meaning of exceptional circumstances for use by its staff.  The guidance will be used as part of the Department’s administrative framework to monitor the 2008 Planning Agreement. This framework includes operating procedures for analysing data, record keeping and recording reasons for decisions and can be viewed using the link below.

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