Airport noise case rejected

Construction News

The Administrative Court on Tuesday dismissed an environmental and noise pollution case concerning Suvarnabhumi airport filed by residents against the Airports of Thailand Plc (AoT) and state agencies.

The case was filed in 2010 by Narongsak Duangnil and 30 other residents living near Suvarnabhumi airport against the AoT and other state authorities, including the Department of Civil Aviation and the Transport Ministry.

Noise at the airport is a long-standing complaint for residents, who sought redress from the state but also argued the airport offended on broader grounds covered under environmental impact legislation.

They asked the AoT to restrict daily nighttime flying from 11pm-5am and to redo the environmental impact assessment (EIA) for Suvarnabhumi airport as the report in 2005 in their view was not legally conducted. Residents said it was made without public participation.

The residents also demanded the airport be declared a pollution source, which requires control measures and compensation for residents of between 100,000-780,000 baht each plus 7.5% interest a year. However, the court said the airport was constructed before the EIA report system was devised under Section 56 of the 1997 constitution.

EIA reports are needed for each airport based on Science and Technology Ministry regulations issued in August 1992. However, the cabinet had approved Suvarnabhumi’s construction in November 1991.

As a result, the airport does not fall under the regulations for conducting the EIA. The airport’s EIA conducted in 2005 was also not unlawful, the court said.

In addition, the pollution problem in this case was not severe enough to cause harmful health effects, according to several state agencies. Therefore, the airport could not be declared as a source of pollution, according to the 1992 Enhancement and Conservation of the National Environmental Quality Act, said the court. As for the nighttime flying restriction, the court also dropped the request as the curbs could negatively affect several sectors.