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Sinn Féin calls upon Environment Minister to clarify Department’s position on Public Inquiry into Belfast City Airport expansion

13 February, 2009


South Belfast Sinn Féin MLA Alex Maskey and East Belfast Party representative Niall Ó Donnghaile have called upon Environment Minister Sammy Wilson to clarify the position of his Department in relation to calls for a public inquiry into the proposed runway extension at Belfast City Airport.

This call has been submitted in a priority written question to the Environment Minister Sammy Wilson by Alex Maskey MLA.

Niall Ó Donnghaile said,
"Within the past week Belfast City Council joined North Down, Antrim and Ballymoney Borough Councils in calling for a public inquiry into the proposed runway extension at Belfast City Airport.

"In joining these Councils, Belfast City Council is adopting the only logical and sensible approach open to it. It must listen to the wishes of the people who will be directly affected by this proposed extension".

South Belfast MLA Alex Maskey said,
"Residents have been complaining for some time now that existing operational conditions at the City Airport have been regularly breached. These include flights after the night-time restrictions and the requirement for aircraft to fly in and out over Belfast Lough. Residents have also highlighted greater noise levels from aircraft consistently flying over highly populated residential areas. I share many of these concerns.

"In light of the growing calls for a public inquiry, most recently by Belfast City Council, I believe that the Environment Minister Sammy Wilson has no option but to accede to these calls. I am, therefore, now calling upon the Minister to clarify the position of the Department of the Environment in relation to a full public inquiry". CRÍOCH

Note to Editors: The full text of the priority written question submitted by South Belfast MLA Alex Maskey to the Environment Minister Sammy Wilson is:

"To ask the Minister to clarify the position of the Department of the Environment in relation to a full public inquiry into the proposed runway extension at Belfast City Airport given the position of a number of councils, including Belfast City Council, in supporting calls for such an inquiry."

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