The Government has claimed that a third runway at Heathrow and a significant increase in flight numbers (an increase of almost 50% from 2007 levels by 2030) would not conflict with the existing the noise limits.
Indeed, the 2003 aviation White Paper pledged that the runway would only go ahead if it resulted in “no net increase” to the size of the area around Heathrow affected by 57 decibels of aircraft noise, the level deemed to mark “the onset of significant community annoyance”. However, there are serious question marks over the Government’s noise calculation methodology, which understates the extent of the problem and the number of people affected.
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