Transport MEPs back deal on noise-related operating restrictions at EU airports 

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Noise-related operating restrictions at EU airports would continue to be set by regional and national authorities, but people living nearby should be better informed and noise-related health problems should be given more consideration, thanks to a deal between Parliament and the Council of Ministers endorsed by the Transport and Tourism Committee on Thursday. Parliament as a whole will now vote on the deal at the April plenary session.

Under the new rules governing decision-making on aircraft noise abatement measures, which would bring EU law into line with International Civil Aviation Organisation principles, national and regional authorities would continue to have the final say in setting noise-related operating restrictions at EU airports.

“The European Commission does not have the right to block or change anything – it is the solution we wanted”, said rapporteur Jörg Leichtfried (S&D, AT), echoing most Transport Committee MEPs’ concerns that increasing the Commission's right of scrutiny could have undermined regional mediation agreements between airports, regions and citizens, many of which are reached only after lengthy negotiations.

If the process by which these operating restrictions are negotiated does not comply with the rules, the Commission may nonetheless notify the relevant authority, “which shall examine the notification and inform the Commission of its intentions”, the text says.

In talks with the Council, Parliament’s negotiators ensured that the draft rules on deciding operating restrictions include requirements to ensure that people living near airports are better informed of them and to give more consideration to the effects of aircraft noise on public health.

Next steps

The agreed text now needs to be approved by the Parliament as a whole at the April II plenary session.

Procedure: Co-decision, second reading agreement