An unnamed individual was responsible for sending Dublin Airport over 12,200 noise complaints in a single year – and they’re still going strong.

One man responsible

Dublin Airport saw a sharp increase in the number of noise complaints it received over the pandemic, increasing almost tenfold in just two years. In 2019, the airport had around 1,500 complaints, but in 2021 the yearly total was at a whopping 13,569. Not what you’d expect for a year of historically low flight volumes.

map of ongar and dublin Airport
The red pin shows Ongar, and Dublin airport can be seen in the North East | © Google Maps

As it happens, one individual was singlehandedly responsible for this dramatic rise, submitting 9 out of every ten complaints the airline received in 2021. The airport has not revealed the disgruntled man or woman’s identity, but it is believed they reside in the Dublin suburb of Ongar, a little under 15km from the airport as the crow flies. Omitting the Ongar resident’s responses, Dublin Airport received 1,296, less than their yearly average. But whilst other complaints are dwindling, the mystery complainer is only increasing their efforts.

Doubling their efforts

The number of complaints received by the unnamed individual has been increasing steadily since 2019. In 2020 they submitted 6,227 complaints but, perhaps unsatisfied with the airport’s responses, nearly doubled this figure in 2021. Last year, 12,272 complaints were lodged, which amounts to around 34 complaints every single day. That’s almost two an hour for every waking hour of the day.

Ongar is on the departure route for southbound flights from runway 28L and sees flights pass over roughly every 20mins. In light of this, it seems likely that the local resident is posting a complaint about every aircraft that flies over their home. This year, as flight volumes have been increasing, the individual has been adjusting their efforts accordingly. In the first three months of this year, they sent 5,573 total noise reports, almost doubling again their monthly volume for 2021.

Dublin Airport’s noise measures

Besides those of the Ongar residents, most complaints Dublin Airport receives are from locals living under flight paths in areas such as Portmarnock, Swords, the Ward, and St Margaret’s. The majority of these concerns were about aircraft taking off at night. To avoid disturbing the locals, Dublin airport uses a ‘noise preferential route’ which avoids heavily populated areas. Additionally, the Irish Government set up the Aircraft Noise Competent Authority (ANCA) to combat noise problems at Dublin Airport. The ANCA is responsible for ensuring that noise generated by aircraft activity at Dublin Airport is assessed in accordance with EU and Irish legislation. They monitor noise levels around the airport and run a sound insulation scheme for houses nearby.

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