Courts dismisses cases concerning Suvarnabhumi

The Supreme Administrative Court on Wednesday ruled that Airports of Thailand (AoT) should continue to be responsible for solving the problem of noise pollution of residential areas around Suvarnabhumi airport, as set out in a cabinet resolution of May 29, 2007.

The court dismissed the petition submitted by a number of people living near the airport, who said the cabinet resolution was unfair to them and AoT was not doing the job properly.

In its judgement, the court upheld the cabinet resolution, saying it was legitimate, and said the AoT, which operates the airport, had actually taken measures to solve the noise problem, in line with the cabinet resolution.

About 80 people living in the affected area were at the court to hear the ruling.

Wanchart Manasombat, a representative of the community, said the residents have not received fair treatment in the two years since the cabinet passed the resolution.

The wanted the government to revert to the Nov 21, 2006 cabinet resolution, which was more favourable to the affected residents than the one passed in May.

The November resolution stated the would AoT buy houses in areas where the sound level was 35-40 noise exposure forecast (NEF) units if the owners wanted to sell.

The May resolution said the AoT would buy only houses suffering from noise of over 40 NEF units.

NEF is a method developed by the US Fedewral Aviation Agency to predict the degree of community annoyance caused by aircraft noise and airports.

Mr Wanchart said the residents would submit another petition, this time to Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva who is currently chairman of the Human Rights Committee of Asean.

Meanwhile, the Administrative Court on Wednesday dismissed a case filed by 12 representatives of the disabled against the prime minister, transport minister and AoT for not providing adequate facilities for disabled people, the elderly and pregnant women at Suvarnabhumi airport.

The representatives were led by Lt-Col Torpong Kulchanchit, chief of the Office of the Disabled Peoples' International Asia-Pacific Region. They said in the lawsuit that the facilities provided for the disabled, elderly and pregnant women at the airport were insufficient and did not meet international standards.

The court ruled that since the cabinet approved the AoT's proposal to renew construction of Suvarnabhumi airport before Oct 2, 2005, the day when a Transport Ministry regulation requiring airports to arrange facilities for the disabled and elderly took effect, the AoT was not required to comply.

Moreover, Item 29 of the ministerial regulation stated that buildings of which construction was under way or had been approved before the regulation took effect were exempted from meeting the requirements.

The court, therefore, dismissed the case.

Lawyer Norawich Lamai, for the plaintiffs, said although the case had been dropped it was now clear that all transport offices built after Oct 2, 2005 were required to provide facilities for the disabled.

He said the plaintiffs were undecided whether to appeal to the Supreme Administrative Court.


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