Page last updated at 13:43 GMT, Friday, 17 October 2008 14:43 UK

Flight limit increased at airport

George Best Belfast City Airport
The cap on the number of fights has increased to 48,000

Up to an extra 3,000 scheduled flights could be allowed in and out of George Best Belfast City Airport under new plans.

An extra 0.5m passengers will be able to use the airport each year.

However, it will be subjected to tighter regulations on noise and activity levels.

Charlie Hopkins of Sydenham Residents' Group said he was "appalled" by the changes to planning restrictions announced by the environment minister.

Sammy Wilson's department increased the airport's 'seats for sale' limit from 1.5m to 2m.

It has also set a cap on the number of flights at 48,000 per year, up from 45,000.

However, this now includes non-scheduled flights such as private jets and other non-commercial aircraft.

These flights were previously not counted towards to the previous cap figure.

"The modified Planning Agreement represents the outcome of a lengthy, open and transparent review including consultation with Belfast City Council and North Down Borough Council plus the Airport Forum which includes representatives of the local residents' groups," Sammy Wilson said.

"Careful consideration has been given to all representations that have been made and I am satisfied that the modified agreement represents a balance between the concerns of the local residents and the economic benefits generated by the airport."

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