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Minister’s decision on airport runway delights residents

Residents who have campaigned to halt the extension of the airport runway welcomed the move by Environment Minister Edwin Poots to launch a Public Inquiry into the proposals.

Belfast City Airport Watch (BCAW), which represents residents in east and south Belfast, and in north Down, last night said it was delighted that the controversial proposal will now be subject to “rigorous scrutiny”.

Householders living in the flightpath fiercely opposed the plans citing safety, health and environmental issues that could arise from any development at the airport.

Throughout its campaign BCAW, which comprises nine residents’ groups, sent 1,486 letters of objection and petitions with 499 names and 2,241 letters of support to the authorities over the scheme.

BCAW spokeswoman Liz Fawcett said: “An extended runway would mean an international airport right on Belfast’s doorstep. While we had hoped that Mr Poots might have rejected this ludicrous proposal outright, we’re very glad that it will now be subjected to robust scrutiny.”

BCAW said it also opposed the proposal because it believed an extended runway would enable planes to carry larger loads of passengers and fuel, leading to heavier aircraft and greater noise levels.

Last year, BCAW surveyed more than 400 individuals in areas in east and south Belfast, and in north Down.

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