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Locals in Utapao challenge the Airport expansion plan

Utapao airport pattaya one March 16 2024

Despite opposition from local residents, the construction of a second runway at U-Tapao–Rayong–Pattaya International Airport is set to proceed. This project, which is a part of the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) initiative, will follow the Environmental and Health Impact Assessment (EHIA) guidelines, according to officials.

As part of the EEC plan, meetings have been scheduled from March 13-20 at the Ban Chang District Office to discuss the advancement of the runway construction in Rayong’s Ban Chang district. These discussions will also cover updates on the recruitment of consultants for the project and the compensation arrangements for residents who may be impacted by noise pollution, based on the noise contour map outlined in the EHIA.

During a meeting held on Wednesday, Prasert Saengyai, representing residents in tambon Samnak Thon in Ban Chang district, presented a petition to the Rayong governor and EEC secretary-general, urging a pause in the project and the revocation of the government-approved noise contour map in the EHIA. The petition also calls for the creation of a new noise contour map to ensure fairness and transparency for affected residents.

Deputy EEC secretary-general Tharit Issarayangyun, who accepted the petition on behalf of the secretary-general, assured that residents would receive compensation. He emphasized that the project’s evaluation process would be unbiased, drawing from expert insights.

Acknowledging that residents’ concerns are under review by the Administrative Court, Tharit noted that unless the court issues a directive to suspend the project, the EEC will move forward in alignment with the EHIA conclusions.

In a separate incident in late February, Chawalit Romruen, the subdistrict headman of tambon Samnak Thon, led a demonstration against U-Tapao airport due to noise pollution grievances in the locality. The protest garnered participation from over 300 residents.


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