Order Establishing the Noise Protection Areas
When it was published in the Saxon Law and Order Gazette on 14 February 2012, the Order from the Saxon State Government on Setting Noise Protection Areas for Dresden and Leipzig/Halle Airports took effect on 15 February 2012. The federal rules in the Act Offering Protection from Aircraft Noise form the basis for this order.
The Order determines the noise protection areas for zones located in the Free State of Saxony and bordering on airports, as far as Leipzig/Halle Airport is concerned. The noise protection areas are divided into two day protection zones, day protection zones 1 and 2, and a night protection zone. The stipulated protection zones are fully within the night protection zone, which the State Directorate newly established in July 2009.
The owners of the plots of land concerned receive a right to structural noise protection on the basis of these protection zones. As the Act Offering Protection from Aircraft Noise contains a most-favoured clause, the number of those entitled to make a claim has not been subsequently restricted by the new order in relation to the decisions made by the State Directorate. The rules from the State Directorate, which cover a larger area, therefore remain in force.
Based on the Act Offering Protection from Aircraft Noise in conjunction with the new order, various prohibitions on building work now exist. For example, hospitals and old people’s homes may only be built in the day protection zones 1 and 2 or in the night protection zone if building permission had been granted before the order came into force or – related to buildings not requiring permission – if it would have been possible to start building them at this time. The same applies to the day protection zones 1 and 2 for nurseries, schools and similar facilities – and for residential property, if it is located in day protection zone 1 or in the night protection zone.
Residential property is excluded from the ban, if it is permissible according to the rules in the Building Code in the so-called outer area or within the developed sections of towns or if it is located within a building area that was designated by a building plan before 15 February 2012.
The Act Offering Protection against Aircraft Noise does allow exceptions on an individual basis, but not for residential property.
For example, an exceptional permit can be issued for nurseries, schools, old people’s homes, hospitals or similar facilities on an individual basis if they are urgently required to serve the population or are in the public interest otherwise. Other possible exceptions arise directly from the act. The State Directorate is responsible for making a decision about exceptions on an individual basis.
The protection zones designated in the order form a basis for determining that the assessed value of plots of land can be reduced and, as a result, the property tax can be lowered because of unusually significant annoyance caused by aircraft noise. According to the rules of the German Ministry of Finance, this involves plots of land along the flight paths leading to an airport. The pivotal issue here is that it must be located within a noise protection area that has been set according to this act. The local tax office is the authority to contact if any applications need to be made.
The map series, where the new protection zones and the boundaries of the plots of land have been entered, is made available by the communities concerned on a scale of 1:5000.
Anybody can download them from the Internet.
Because the Order Setting Noise Protection Areas for Dresden and Leipzig-Halle Airports has taken effect, the Leipzig State Directorate would once again point out that any claims for structural noise protection, which are based on decisions made by the Leipzig State Directorate (planning permission decision dated 4 November 2004, last amended on 17 July 2009), had to be asserted to Flughafen Leipzig/Halle GmbH by 31 December 2012. These applications can only be based on the smaller protection zones derived from the order from 1 January 2013 onwards (Source: Leipzig State Directorate).
Flughafen Leipzig/Halle GmbH is making every effort to reduce the disturbance caused by aircraft noise for local residents. Extensive measures that involve what is feasible from a legal, technical and air traffic point of view are being introduced.
A special package of measures has been drawn up for developing a cargo hub. This aims to protect local residents’ ability to sleep at night in the best possible way if they live close to the airport. The package includes both active and passive noise protection measures.
Active noise protection involves reducing noise at source and the way that the noise spreads.
Active noise protection measures at Leipzig/Halle Airport involve:
All the aircraft operating at Leipzig/Halle Airport meet the EU-wide minimum requirements set for their maximum permissible noise emissions. According to these, they must comply with the noise threshold levels according to Chapter 3, Annex 16 of the Standards of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
Leipzig/Halle Airport makes the take-off and landing fees depend on the noise certification of the aircraft type. According to this, modern aircraft, which meet the latest technical standards, pay lower fees than older and therefore louder planes. Airlines therefore have an incentive to use aircraft that create less noise. The scaled fees according to noise emissions are an important part of the efforts to reduce aircraft noise at Leipzig/Halle Airport.
Leipzig/Halle Airport has had noise protection walls and a noise protection barrier built to reduce the noise interference in areas directly surrounding the airport. Some of them are located in the village of Freiroda as well as in the southern part of the airport near DHL’s cargo apron area.
These measures restrict the noise that occurs during ground handling operations at the airport.
Scheduled passenger flights have not been allowed to take off or land at Leipzig/Halle Airport between 11:30 p.m. and 5:30 a.m. since the summer timetable in 2008.
Training and practice flights are only permissible on Mondays to Saturdays, from 6 a.m. until 10 p.m. The training flights are arranged in such a way that planes do not fly over places that are very close to the airport.
Flight paths are set by a legal order according to Section 32 Para. 4c of the Air Traffic Act in conjunction with Section 27a Para. 2 Sentence 1 of the Air Traffic Regulations by the Federal Office for Air Traffic Control, the supervisory body for air traffic organisations in Germany.
Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH (DFS or German Air Traffic Control) in its role as the responsible planning authority for flight paths submits a verifiable plan to the Federal Supervisory Office for Air Traffic Control (BAF) for any intended new flight paths or changes to old ones.
The flight noise committee and the Federal Environmental Office become involved in the procedure according to Section 32b of the German Air Traffic Act and, according to Section 32 Para. 4c of the Air Traffic Act, a so-called behaviour pattern has to be prepared. The necessary legislative process makes it necessary to determine and consider all the points of view that are relevant to the decision.
When planning flight paths, DFS not only takes into consideration the criteria of safety, meeting the capacity requirements and the length of the route, but also the stress caused by aircraft noise. The options prepared by the DFS are presented to the local aircraft noise committee and assessed by it. Its advisory findings are taken into account during the final consideration and are submitted to the BAF with a flight path recommendation.
During a careful consideration process, the BAF checks whether the plans suggested by DFS are proper and lawful and passes them on to the Federal Environmental Office for its comments in order to then submit a final proposed regulation to the Federal Ministry of Justice in liaison with this office. Once this has been checked, the flight paths are set by the BAF as a legislative decree and are activated by being published in the Federal Law Gazette.
Flight paths Leipzig/Halle Airport (German only)
In practice, aircraft cannot always precisely fly along the set arrivals and departures routes. These problems may be caused by wind or the weather conditions or the physical properties of the individual types of aircraft. The flight paths are surrounded by so-called expected lines of flight. The further and higher the aircraft is from the airport, the wider these lines are. Any deviation from an ideal line of flight, if this occurs within the set expected line of flight, does not amount to an administrative offence.
Any visual approach by aircraft is not allowed at night.
Only aircraft that have instrument-managed navigation systems may approach the airport. The aircraft must already be on the basic approach route 20 km before it arrives at the airport. This ensures that it is not possible to approach the airport from the side at close range.
Leipzig/Halle Airport has had a special test hangar constructed to minimise noise levels during jet engine tests. It even offers enough space to accommodate the largest aircraft like an Antonov AN 124 or an Airbus A380.
Passive noise protection involves building measures that reduce the noise at the place where it affects people.
Stipulations on extensive noise protection measures, which relate to protecting the population from aircraft noise, were issued with the planning permission decision for the “project involving the expansion of the commercial airport at Leipzig/Halle, the southern runway with the apron area” dated 4 November 2004 in the version that includes its supplements and amendments. As the establishment of a freight hub involving many night flights represented a large part of the plans, special significance was attributed to protecting people’s sleep at night.
Flughafen Leipzig/Halle GmbH is implementing these stipulations for passive noise protection as part of its noise protection programme.