Department signs new Modified Planning Agreement with George Best Belfast City Airport

Date published: 24 July 2019

The Department for Infrastructure has signed a new Modified Planning Agreement with George Best Belfast City Airport which will control operations at the Airport with immediate effect.

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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 Modified Planning Agreement removes the seats for sale restriction and introduces the following new measures for controlling noise at the Airport:

  • A noise control contour - the area experiencing an average equivalent daytime noise of 57dB shall not exceed 5.2 km when measured over the summer period (being the airport’s busiest period);
  • A quota count system operating in tandem with the noise control contour– this is a noise categorisation scheme which classifies each aircraft movement with a quota count.  Over the summer period, the sum of the quota counts cannot exceed the overall Quota as specified in the Agreement.  
  • A departure noise limit will be introduced on all flights with levies payable to the Community Fund when this is exceeded (the Community Fund is administered by the Airport and supports community events and initiatives)
  • A penalty system for late flights have been introduced into the Agreement with fines increased compared with the previous voluntary scheme operated by the Airport
  • Adoption of a continuous approach descent approach for all landing aircraft to contain the noise from landing.
  • Availability and use of fixed electrical ground power at all aircraft stands to reduce ground noise from aircraft
  • The establishment of a Noise Insulation Scheme offering funding for sound insulation to residential and noise sensitive properties experiencing an average equivalent daily daytime noise level of 63dB. 

Notes to editors: 

  1. The Agreement can be viewed at:
  2. All media queries should be directed to the Department for Infrastructure Press Office on 028 9054 0007 or email: Out of hours please contact the duty press officer on 028 9037 8110.
  3. Follow the Department on Twitter @deptinfra and on Facebook @DepartmentforInfrastructure

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