Airport noise zones and declassifications

Cointrin_declassification.jpgThere is currently a public enquiry on reclassification of land zones around the airport, which lasts from mid-December to mid-January. Christmas and the New Year: a good time to hold such an enquiry!


Yesterday, while walking through the Commercial centre in Meyrin, I saw the notice board where the official notices are displayed. One of these showed a plan of the area just to the south of the airport where there are propositions to change the zones, including possibe expropriations of villas and the creation of some light industries. This subject was the headlines in the Tribune de Genève on the Tuesday just before Christmas.

On looking more closely, I saw that this was a public enquiry, for which people could comment during the month of the enquiry. The dates for this enquiry were from mid-December to mid-January, and the signature at the bottom was that of Mark Muller, the State Councillor responsible for the department of constructions and information technology of Geneva.

Mid-December to mid-January, just when most people are absent on holiday or have many other things on their mind! Without commenting on whether this was just coincidental, nor whether Mr Muller had anything to do with the timing, my mind went back to the infamous email sent to the UK politician Martin Sixsmith by one of his aides on the day of the New York twin towers terrorist attack. This suggested that it was a good day to "bury" bad news.

On the actual content of the proposals, touted as being a way to create more housing (just next to the airport?), I have not understood the whole affair. All that I can say is that when politicians claim that they have an entirely laudable reason for an action, I immediately think to look for other less laudable motives: there might or might not be such motives in this case.

From what was said in the Tribune article, it is clear that one underlying factor is the contours for the noise zones surrounding the airport runway. These contours are calculated each year by EMPA, using a computer program which simulates the noise of a cross-section of the aircraft and arrival and departure trajectories of the previous year. It has been claimed that these simulations match real measurements, including those of various airport microphones in places around the airport, but I an unaware of any published details to back up such claims.

After a few enquiries I was sent the web URL of the detailed proposals, contained on the web site of the Geneva Administration. I was going to link this URL on this message, but a check showed that it has mysteriously disappeared from that site. Maybe it is somewhere else: I'll have a look. In the meantime, the best that I can find (less details) is on the Geneva Web site.

For all of this, I have a very simple philosophy. If private citizens are in any way losing money because of the activities of nearby large enterprises who are making (more) money, then they should be fully compensated by these enterprises (the principle that polluters should pay for their pollution!). This compensation procedure should be enforced by the elected authorities at communal, cantonal and federal level, even if these authorities may themselves be making more money. If the politicians involved do not act on behalf of the people who elected them then the electorate should know, so as to be able to make a (different) choice at the next elections!

12:03 Posted in Potpourri | Permalink | Comments (2) | Tags: meyrin, expropriation, declassement, geneva, airport, mark muller | |  del.icio.us | | Digg! Digg |  Facebook


En effet, les propriétaires de villas sont en train de faire les frais d'une politique d'extension de la zone de développement 3 répondant à des intérêts financiers de promoteurs sans scrupule prêts à tout pour de l'argent. La pénurie de logements n'est qu'un prétexte pour déclasser cette zone villas afin d'y construire des bureaux pour de l'activité commerciale.

Posted by: Girardet J-F | 01/09/2011

Je crois que vous n'êtes pas seule en vous méfiant des décisions des hommes (et femmes?) politiques! J'ai l'impression que les autorités communales vont renvoyer la balle vers l'administration cantonale, qui va ensuite renvoyer la balle vers ... (devinez).

Posted by: Mike Gerard | 01/10/2011

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