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April 29, 2011

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Noise compensation offer for residents

RESIDENTS who have protested for years about aircraft noise from Hongqiao International Airport have been offered compensation - though officials say this is related only to disturbance from nearby road traffic.

Under the deal, 198 households in five buildings in a Huacao Town complex near the airport can receive cash from the real estate developer or be relocated to quieter apartments.

Minhang District government told Shanghai Daily they worked with the complex's developer, Bojin Co, to draw up a compensation offer.

A Minhang government official, surnamed Li, said residents can choose from three options: a one-off payment of between 150,000 (US$ 23,077) and 200,000 yuan; to be relocated to a new, similar-sized apartment nearby; or to sell the apartment back to the developer for 16,000 yuan per square meter.

Owners paid around 6,000 yuan per square meter when they bought their apartments.

Residents complain of noise and air pollution caused by airplanes flying low overhead around the clock and vehicles on the Beidi Road Elevated Highway in front of their windows.

Many claim that when they moved in, back in 2006, the developer didn't mention plans for highway construction. The highway opened last April.

Li said government officials had inspected the complex and agreed that there was considerable noise from highway traffic.

But he said only residents living in the five buildings nearest to the elevated highway will be offered compensation or relocation.

"The options have nothing to do with airplane noise and we are still figuring out plans for other residents complaining about the airplanes," said Li.

The offer led to debate among residents living the complex, who gathered around the buildings arguing whether they should accept one of the options.

"Although the airplane noise problem will still be left unsolved, we are keen to relocate to a nearby apartment, said a resident surnamed Xu. "I'd be happy to wave goodbye to the noisy trucks."

Like many other residents, Xu believed the offers were partly down to the high-profile campaign residents conducted, hanging banners from their balconies and protesting at airports and government offices.

Another resident surnamed Wang said they should aim for more compensation to buy apartments elsewhere.

On Tuesday residents are due to sign papers agreeing to one option or refusing them all.


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