Geneva: New noise limits for the airport


GenevaNew noise limits for the airport

New permissible sound thresholds have been set for Cointrin. Not enough for associations of residents who will take legal action.

The airport must make less noise to spare its residents.

20min/Vanessa Lam

New noise limits, quotas for late night flights, new fast runway excursion. This is what the new operating regulations of Geneva airport provide for. The Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications (DETEC) gave the green light on Friday.

“This is the culmination of a process started in 2013 between the competent federal and cantonal services and the airport operator,” says DETEC. The Canton, for its part, welcomes an “important” step in the implementation of the Sector Plan for Aeronautical Infrastructure (PSIA).

“Strongly dissuasive” taxes

Cointrin’s PSIA sheet thus defines a maximum permissible noise limit, as well as a noise reduction for the 2030 horizon. Night-time noise is particularly targeted. A new binding quota system to reduce late flight take-offs after 10 p.m. is introduced. It provides for “the collection of progressive and highly dissuasive taxes in the event of quotas being exceeded”.

In addition, the federal decision will allow the construction of a new fast runway exit, “necessary for Geneva airport”. It will also have an impact on land use planning, since in the future, construction projects “will formally take into account the spaces covered by the noise limit curves thus instituted”, announces the State.

“Excessive growth”

But, while the authorities congratulate themselves, several associations of local residents believe that the targeted plan is not sufficient. The implementation of the new regulation “would expose 29,000 people to excessive noise pollution in 2030”, denounce the CARPE (Regional coordination for an urban airport respectful of the population and the environment), the ATCR (Cross-border association municipalities bordering the airport) and ARAG (Association of residents of the airport). These estimate that with the new decision, “it is expected no less than 11,000 movements per year after 10 p.m., or 30 flights per night”.

Citing the example of Zurich airport, the associations plead in particular to prohibit all flights between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m., except for health or diplomatic needs, as well as for a “strict limitation” of operations between 10 p.m. 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. Pointing to a “disproportionate growth of the airport” harmful to health and the environment, they announce that they will seize the Federal Administrative Court to challenge the new operating plan.

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