Page last updated at 05:46 GMT, Monday, 8 September 2008 06:46 UK

Class 'disrupted' by plane noise

In 2003, owBelfast City Airport
Residents in the flight path of the airport are concerned about noise

A survey of schools in the flight path of George Best Belfast City Airport reports disruption of classes and outdoor play time.

But the airport says the report is scaremongering and it has not received complaints from any schools.

The research was carried out by residents groups opposed to increasing the number of planes at the airport.

However, a spokesman for the airport has strongly criticised what he called a "highly suspect poll".

The campaign group, Belfast City Airport Watch, is calling on the Environment Minister, Sammy Wilson, to take urgent action following the results of its survey which it claims reveals that aircraft noise is causing problems for many Belfast schools.

Eighteen Belfast schools say they're concerned about the impact on their school of aircraft noise linked to George Best Belfast City Airport.

Planes were practically skimming the roof of one of our classrooms.
Former Principal, Jean Cogger

One of the worst affected schools was Sydenham Infants' School which has just become part of the new Victoria Park Primary School in Sydenham, east Belfast.

The school's former principal, Jean Cogger, says the increasing volume of aircraft from the airport was making life unbearable for both pupils and teachers at the school.

"Planes were practically skimming the roof of one of our classrooms - the noise was so loud, it made teaching very difficult.

"Children would stand in the playground and wave at the passengers - that's how close the planes were."

Another school principal, Ronnie Milligan, who heads Cregagh Primary School in east Belfast, says the planes are annoying for both pupils and teachers.

"We have a great football pitch but football lessons are often interrupted by planes - it's distracting for the pupils and annoying for the teacher."

Thirty schools said they would be concerned if the airport's proposed runway extension plan resulted in more air traffic.

Chief Executive of Belfast City Airport Brian Ambrose said it was "scaremongering typical of the residents' group", and that the airport closely monitored noise levels.

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