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Zurich airport expansion to go ahead

The planned extension of Zurich airport can go ahead despite objections from local residents Keystone

Plans to expand Switzerland's main airport near Zurich have been given the go-ahead by federal court. Judges rejected appeals to scrap the expansion but went some way towards appeasing local opposition by imposing tough environmental restrictions.

The court on Thursday turned down appeals from local authorities, environmental groups and individual plaintiffs against the airport expansion, which was approved by the transport ministry last year.

The judges also threw out an appeal against a cap on nitrous oxide emissions. However, they ruled that the ministry’s flight noise protection measures were in breach of environmental regulations.

As part of the ruling, up more than 30,000 local residents can claim double-glazed windows to reduce noise pollution at their homes. The government initially expected only 6,000 people to benefit.

Airport officials warned that the court’s decision might compel them to raise fees for noise pollution, making the airport less competitive.

The transport minister, Moritz Leuenberger, welcomed the court ruling, saying he would ask the government to amend regulations on noise pollution levels.

Up to 27 aircraft will be able to dock at the new building at Zurich-Kloten airport, which is home to the national carrier, Swissair.

swissinfo with agencies

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR