All posts by John Stewart

New WHO guidelines tougher on aircraft noise

Press Release

10/10/12 for immediate use

NEW WORLD HEALTH ORGANISATION GUIDELINES INDICATE AIRCRAFT NOISE CAUSE HEALTH PROBLEMS OVER 20 MILES FROM HEATHROW

Campaign group HACAN has said that the new noise guidelines from the World Health Organisation, published today, send a strong message to Heathrow as it develops its new flight paths that aircraft noise problems are not confined to areas close to the airport.  The guidelines indicate that aircraft noise can affect the health of people living well over 20 miles from Heathrow.

HACAN chair John Stewart said, “The clear message to Heathrow is that it needs to look after its distant neighbours as well as its near neighbours when planning it new flight paths.  The most effecivet way to do that is to ensure that residents living 20 miles and more from the airport are guaranteed predicable breaks from the noise each day.

Stewart added, “The findings confirm everything residents have been telling us over many years.  Noise from Heathrow is not just a problem local to the airport.”

The World Health Organisation has found that when average noise is 45 decibels it can have health effects.  Previous WHO guidelines argued that people could start to become annoyed by noise when it averaged out at 50 decibels over the day.  In geographical terms that covered areas about 16 miles from the airport, places like Peckham in South East London.

A 45 decibel contour would to extend at least 20 miles from the airport, to places like Greenwich in the east and Reading in the west.  But it would also include places such as Leytonstone in North East which experience noise from both Heathrow and London City Airport.

The World Health Organisation guidelines applies to all countries within Europe, not just those in the European Union but are simply guidelines.  Their main purpose is to outline the health impacts of noise on the basis of the available evidence.  The WHO does not expect the levels to be adhered to overnight as that would entail the closure of most airports and many roads.

The key recommendations are:

Recommended Limits

Road                           53Lden                                   45Lnight

Rail                             54Lden                                   44Lnight

Aircraft                      45Len                                    40Lnight

Wind Turbines      45Lden                no recommendation*

The recommended levels for air and wind are lower because the evidence shows that people become more annoyed by them at lower levels than road and rail.

ENDS

 Notes for Editors:

The full report: http://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/383921/noise-guidelines-eng.pdf?ua=1

  1. Lden averages the noise out over an 8 hour day, a 4 hour evening and an 8 hour night, with 5 and 10 decibels added to the evening and night figures respectively to account for generally lower background levels at those times. Lnight averages the noise just during the night period

* The WHO felt that there was insufficient evidence to make a recommendation

For further information:

John Stewart on 0207 737 6641 or 07957385650

Campaign groups welcomes Heathrow’s decision to share out noise

PRESS RELEASE

 20/09/18 for immediate use

 CAMPAIGN GROUP WELCOMES HEATHROW’S INTENTION TO SHARE NOISE AROUND WITH ITS NEW FLIGHT PATHS

Campaign group HACAN has welcomed Heathrow’s intention to give people breaks from the noise when it designs its new flight paths. Yesterday Heathrow published the results of the consultation it held earlier this year into its new flights (1).

The consultation was not on the exact route of the flight paths but on how people thought they should be designed. The least favoured option was for all-day flying on flights paths concentrated over particular communities. Most people wanted a sharing of the noise so each community got a break from the noise.  Many said new areas should be avoided if possible.

In yesterday’s report Heathrow said it would design flights paths to provide people respite from the noise and to avoid new areas wherever it could.

The report now goes to the Civil Aviation Authority for approval. If it is approved, Heathrow plans to consult further on the flight paths in January. However, the exact flight paths won’t be known for another few years.

John Stewart, chair of HACAN, the organisation which gives a voice to residents impacted by Heathrow, said, “This is proof that victories are possible.   For over a decade we have campaigned for respite from the noise for people. We are pleased that Heathrow has listened and will avoid all-day flying over communities.”

Heathrow has embarked on the biggest redesign of its flight paths since it opened in 1946. It is driven less by the third runway and more by the worldwide move of changing the way planes are guided when landing and taking off. Airports are moving from ground-based navigation to a satellite-based system which allows aircraft to be guided more precisely thus saving fuel, reducing climate emissions and improving the resilience of the airport.

ENDS

 Notes for editors:

(1). Link to the report:

https://b9kdp3cmc3m1gtje53fj9gdn-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/…/… …

For more information:

John Stewart on 0207 737 6641 or 07957385650

3rd Runway will mean ‘torrents of noise’

PRESS RELEASE

 25/6/18 for immediate use

VOTE TO BACK THIRD RUNWAY WILL MEAN ‘TORRENTS OF NOISE’ FOR COUNTLESS COMMUNITIES

Campaigners claimed that today’s vote to back a third runway will cause countless communities to experience ‘torrents of noise’ for the first time.

John Stewart, chair of HACAN, the long-established residents’ group which has campaigned against a new runway at Heathrow for 15 years, said, “A third runway will turn peaceful areas of London and the Home Counties into torrents of noise as planes pass over at a rate of one every 90 seconds.   Up to 100,000 people could experience relentless noise for the first time.”

Stewart added, “Of course the new runway is not a done deal.  This vote simply permits Heathrow to draw up detailed plans which in due course will need to be approved by a planning inquiry before construction can start.”

Today’s vote in Parliament means that a third runway becomes official Government policy.  The Prime Minister secured a majority of 296.  415 MPs backed a new runway, with 119 against.

A number of local authorities, backed by Greenpeace and the Mayor of London, indicated last week that they would mount a legal challenge against any vote in favour of a new runway.  It is expected the courts will hear their case in the autumn.

Over the next year Heathrow will draw up and consult on its plans for the third runway with a view to presenting them to a public inquiry in 2020.

Stewart said, “Although HACAN believes a third runway is not the right answer we will engage in the consultation process in order to fight for the best deal for residents should a third runway go ahead.

ENDS

 For further information:

John Stewart on 0207 737 6641 or 07957385650

Communities face ‘a tsunami of noise’ as cabinet backs third runway

PRESS RELEASE

 Communities face ‘a tsunami of noise’ as cabinet backs third runway

 5/6/18 for immediate use

A leading campaign group said that many communities would face ‘a tsunami of noise’ if a third runway went ahead at Heathrow.  On the day the Cabinet gave its official backing to a new runway HACAN, the long-established residents’ group which opposes Heathrow expansion, said that ‘many people’s lives would be changed forever’ as a result of the noise from the 700 extra planes a day that would use the airport if a third runway is built.

Parliament will be required to vote on the Airports National Policy Statement (1), which sets out plans for a third runway, within 21 days.  Most Conservatives are expected to back the plans.  The Labour Party is divided on the issue.  A number of leading members of the shadow cabinet such as John McDonnell, Emily Thornberry and Diane Abbot have a long history of opposing a third runway but it is backed by many MPs outside London who believe it will improve connectivity to their areas. The Liberal Democrats oppose the new runway but it is supported by the DUP and the Scottish National Party, though the latter may be reluctant to vote with the Conservatives.

The National Policy Statement, laid before Parliament today by transport secretary Chris Grayling, also set out a number of binding conditions which Heathrow would need to adhere to.  These included a six and a half hour night ban, up from five hours at present; strict air pollution limits; improved compensation for local residents; and tough powers for the Civil Aviation Authority to ensure the costs of the third runway do not become excessive.

HACAN chair John Stewart said, “This is a bad day for residents.  Many communities will face a tsunami of noise if a third runway goes ahead.  Many people who will be under new flights paths will find their lives changed forever.  We will continue to oppose a new runway but, obviously, if it becomes inevitable, we will fight for the best conditions possible for residents.”

A number of local authorities are expected to challenge any Parliamentary vote for a third runway in the courts.

If Parliament backs a third runway, it becomes Government policy and Heathrow will start drawing up its detailed plans.  It expects these to be put out to public consultation next year and to be laid before a planning inquiry in 2020.  If the plans are approved, it hopes to start building the runway in 2021 and open it in 2025.

ENDS

 Notes for editors

 (1). Link to the National Policy Statement – https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/proposed-heathrow-expansion

For more information:

John Stewart on 0207 737 6641 or 07957385650

 

 

SONA Study: major new CAA study on levels when aircraft noise annoys people

When people get annoyed by noise

The findings of the new HACAN study are supported by SONA, a study the Government commissioned from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA): Survey of Noise Attitudes 2014. SONA found that people start to get annoyed by aircraft noise at lower levels than previously officially recognised.  This is reflected now in the Government’s Airspace Strategy which recognised that people can get annoyed by aircraft noise when it averages out over a 16 hour day at 54 decibels.  Previously government argued it was57 decibels. Some people get annoyed at even lower levels.

The chart above, taken from the study, compares the results of the Government sponsored 1982 ANIS Study with the new SONA study.  SONA found  9% of people are highly annoyed when the average is 54 decibels.  In geographical terms around Heathrow that goes as far as about Clapham to the east and about 16 miles to the west: about 65,000 people in total.  The lower average of 51% extends about as far as Peckham.

The full study  http://publicapps.caa.co.uk/docs/33/CAP%201506%20FEB17.pdf

South East London Study

HACAN launches major new study

Today (3rd April) HACAN has launched a major new study which reveals the extent of the aircraft noise problem in South East London.  Corridors of Concentration, published in conjunction with Plane Hell Action, a local group based in SE London,  has revealed a dramatic increase in the number of flights over many areas of South East London in recent years.  It also found that flight paths have become more concentrated.

Over a dozen areas from Clapham Common in the west to Greenwich in the east were surveyed.  The number of aircraft audible from each location was recorded.  Key counts were verified by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

The overall number of flights is much the same as when we last surveyed the area 10 years ago but this masks significant changes in certain places.  Particularly dramatic was the increase in the number of flights in the far east of the region has increased dramatically: daily flights in the Brockley corridor grew by 135 between 2011 and 2017; Greenwich saw an increase of 165 a day.

The study concluded many more planes are joining their final approach corridors further east than before and are more concentrated within those corridors.   

Read the study:  http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Corridors-of-Concentration-Report.pdf

NEW STUDY: DRAMATIC INCREASE IN FLIGHT NUMBERS OVER PARTS OF SOUTH EAST LONDON

PRESS RELEASE

2nd April 2018, embargoed until 00.01 3rd April

NEW STUDY: DRAMATIC INCREASE IN FLIGHT NUMBERS OVER PARTS OF SOUTH EAST LONDON

A new study (1) reveals a dramatic increase in the number of flights over many areas of South East London in recent years.  Corridors of Concentration, published today by HACAN and Plane Hell Action, also found that flight paths have become more concentrated. The study was carried out to highlight the current impact of aircraft noise on south east London and to influence the policy debate by feeding into Heathrow’s recent consultation on future flight path design.

Over a dozen areas from Clapham Common in the west to Greenwich in the east were surveyed.  The number of aircraft audible from each location was recorded.  Key counts were verified by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

The study found that:

  • The area is heavily overflown, with typically 38 planes an hour audible to many communities.  This could rise to over 40 during busy periods.
  • Increased concentration of flights has taken place in recent years. More than ever, flights are being guided through ‘concentrated corridors’ which means particular communities are especially badly hit.
  • The overall number of flights is much the same as when we last surveyed the area 10 years ago but this masks significant changes in certain places:

– the number of flights in the east of the region has increased dramatically: daily flights in the Brockley corridor grew by 135 between 2011 and 2017; Greenwich saw an increase of 165 a day.

– flight numbers in the ‘southern corridor’ – which is focused on the southern runway – have risen significantly.

– increased concentration has meant more flights for particular communities.  Although the study focused on daytime flights, it found evidence to suggest night flights have also become more concentrated.

The study concluded many more planes are joining their final approach corridors further east than before and are more concentrated within those corridors.   Increased concentration and the join point shifting have meant that people living south of the river are experiencing an increased density of turning aircraft over their homes.

The study made three key recommendations:

  • In the short-term, flight paths need to be varied as much as possible to reduce the concentration identified.
  • The practice of concentrating night flights over particular communities should be avoided.
  • In the longer-term, when Heathrow redesigns its airspace, it needs to ensure that the new technology is used to distribute arrivals fairly over multiple approach routes.

 Dan Scorer, of Plane Hell Action, said: “This study confirms everything that people have been telling us across south east London.  The increased concentration of flights is driving many people to despair, with no escape from the constant noise over our heads.  We can’t wait 7 years for Heathrow to change flight paths – action is needed now.”

HACAN chair John Stewart said, “This study makes a powerful case that the problems caused by flights to Heathrow are not confined to West London and areas close to the airport.  For many communities in South East London the situation has got worse rather than better over the last decade.”

ENDS

 Notes for editors:

(1). Link to the study:  http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Corridors-of-Concentration-Report.pdf

For further information:

John Stewart on 0207 737 6641 or 07957385650

Dan Scorer on 07949 653 704

 

 HACAN WELCOMES TOUGHER ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS ESPECIALLY RECOMMENDED 7 HOUR NIGHT FLIGHT BAN

PRESS RELEASE

 Embargoed until 00.01 23/3/18

HACAN, the campaign group which gives a voice to residents under the Heathrow flight paths, has welcomed the fact that the Transport Select Committee in its report on the National Policy Statement on Airports has recommended tougher conditions on noise and air quality should a third runway be given the go-ahead.  These include a night flight ban of seven hours, longer than the six and a half hour break that was recommended by the Government.

In its report the Committee has endorsed the Government’s view that a third runway at Heathrow is the best option for expansion.  But it has recommended that the Government take on-board a raft of new conditions.  These include stricter conditions on noise and air quality and more clarity on new rail access to the airport.

HACAN Chair John Stewart said: “Although disappointed the Committee didn’t reject the third runway, we welcome the tougher environmental conditions which it has recommended.  In particular we welcome its recommended seven hour night flight ban.”

Currently there is a ban on scheduled night flights from 11.30pm until 4.30am.

The Government will now be expected to respond to the Committee.  A vote on the NPS is expected to take place in Parliament in the summer.  If it is backed by Parliament, a third runway becomes Government policy and Heathrow would start to consult on the detailed plans for the runway.

ENDS

 For more information:  John Stewart on 0207 737 6641 or 07957385650