Thursday 30 August 2007

An Bord Pleanála gives terminal the green light

PLANS by Dublin Airport to open its much-needed second passenger terminal in 2009 could face further delays, despite yesterday’s decision by an Bord Pleanála to grant planning permission for the €609 million project.

Ryanair last night indicated it will mount a High Court challenge to overturn the decision, which it claims was based on “political interference”.

The planning authority gave the green light for the second terminal — known as T2 — subject to 30 conditions, including a restriction that the combined capacity of both terminals shall not exceed 32 million passengers per annum.

However, it refused the Dublin Airport Authority planning permission for the proposed second phase of T2 on the basis it would be premature without improvements to the local road network.

The original decision by Fingal County Council last October to approve the project was appealed by a large number of parties, including Ryanair, An Taisce and local residents including the Portmarnock Community Association.

Despite Ryanair’s threat of a legal challenge, the DAA said preliminary construction work on the terminal could begin in a few weeks.

DAA chief executive Declan Collier accused Ryanair of being motivated by “narrow self-interest rather than the interests of Dublin Airport, passengers and the wider Irish economy”.

However, Ryanair criticised the ABP ruling, claiming the planning authority had merely rubber-stamped a development that was shown to be in breach of Fingal County Council’s own capacity limits and allowed for the destruction of a protected structure, Corballis House.

In a separate decision, the planning authority also granted approval for the construction of a 3.1km runway at Dublin Airport against the advice of its own planning inspector.

However, it placed 31 separate conditions on the planning permission, including a restriction on night-time flights and other measures to limit noise from aviation traffic in order to address the concerns of local residents and schools.

The new €150m runway, which is expected to be fully operational by 2012, will allow Dublin Airport to handle up to 60m passengers in the long term.

Irish Examiner

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