Northern Ireland

George Best Belfast City Airport: new inquiry call

An inquiry is to be held into plans to extend the runway
Image caption The airport wants to extend the runway by almost 600m

The Department of Environment has submitted a new request for a public inquiry into plans to extend the runway at George Best Belfast City Airport.

The Planning Appeals Commission (PAC) refused to proceed with an inquiry last year.

It wanted the department to produce more detailed environmental information about the likely noise impacts.

It is not clear when the inquiry will begin but a preliminary meeting will be held in June.

In an unusual move, the PAC voluntarily published letters between it and the department which showed some sharp exchanges on the matter.

The PAC feared that if all environmental issues were not properly dealt with, there could be future legal challenges.

The PAC will hold a preliminary meeting on 6 June to outline the arrangements leading to the inquiry.

The meeting will also deal with procedural queries and will consider whether there are any further matters likely to delay the inquiry.

People who wish to take part in the inquiry should attend, or arrange to be represented at the meeting.

The airport wants to extend the north east end of the runway by 590m while retracting 120m from the south west.

Residents are opposed to the extension, fearing it will lead to bigger and noisier planes using the runway.

The airport has said an extension could create 100 jobs and £120m in tourism revenue.

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