Fingal flights row heating up

THE fight over aircraft noise on the Tweed could be headed for the courts.

Fingal Head Community Association president Dawn Walker said advice from the Environmental Defender's Office suggested action could be available to the association under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

"This confirmed our view that we have grounds to pursue legal action against Airservices Australia," Ms Walker wrote in the Fingal Flyer quarterly community newsletter.

Airservices is an Australian Government-backed body that manages flight paths.

The Gold Coast Airport is legally required to increase its capacity. However, residents argue flights over Fingal disrupt internationally protected migratory bird colonies.

"We have engaged the EDO to assist us (to) challenge the flight path over Fingal Head in the Federal Court," Ms Walker wrote.

"FHCA has approved an FOI (Freedom of Information) application to take this action to the next stage."

The association is confident the flight path violates environmental law and legal action would change use of the peninsula as a jet departure heading.

Sydney Environmental Defender's Office solicitor Belinda Rayment said the FOI request would examine whether Airservices followed due process by sending flights over Fingal.

"Under old legislation and the EPBC Airservices are required to do certain things," Ms Rayment said.

"The Act allows for certain exemptions but we need to find out if the processes were followed.

"It could be that when we get all the information, all the boxes have been ticked."

She said FOI results were expected in two to three weeks.

An Airservices spokesman said all relevant legislation was followed by the organisation.



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