The Civil Aviation Authority published a major report on 27th July into departures from Heathrow Airport. It was largely done in response to complaints from local people than aircraft have become louder and lower.
The report is packed with other useful information but note it concentrates on heights and noise. It doesn’t deal in any depth with other causes of noise such as increased concentration or a rise in flight numbers.
Heathrow published its long-awaited respite report commissioned from Anderson Acoustics on 16th February 2017. It is the first of its kind to be done. HACAN was part of the steering group. Summary video: https://youtu.be/7Z5mt7rKJgA .
Heathrow’s consultation on the principles it should use in designing its new flight paths showed most people backed respite. 54% wanted the priority to be respite even if that increased the total number overflown; 25% wanted the priority to be to prevent new areas being overflown (that included most respondents not currently overflown); any only 22% backed minimising the total number overflown by concentrating all the flights over certain areas. (Some backed more than one option which is why the don;t add up to 100%).
New World Health Organisation Guidelines (2018) tougher on aircraft noise
The new noise guidelines from the World Health Organisation, published 10th October 2018, are tougher on aircraft noise than previously.
Road 53Lden 45Lnight
Rail 54Lden 44Lnight
Aircraft 45Len 40Lnight
Wind Turbines 45Lden no recommendation
Our view this 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. They are of course just guidelines, not intended to be implemented overnight, whose main purpose is to indicate the levels at which noise can become a health problem.
HYENA-study-712 – this study by Imperial College assed the impact of night flights on the health of people living around a number of European airports, including Heathrow
http://www.bmj.com/content/347/bmj.f5432: A study of aircraft noise and cardiovascular disease near Heathrow airport finds the risk of heart problems are much higher for people living under noisy flight paths
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 Government policy which acknowledges that people can get annoyed by aircraft noise when it averages out over a 16 hour day at 54 or 51 decibels. Previously government argued it was 57 decibels. Some people get annoyed at even lower levels. The World Health Organisation report, published in October 2018, argues for the lower levels: https://hacan.org.uk/?p=4307
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.
No change proposed for night flight regime at Heathrow
The Government is proposing no change to the number of night flights at Heathrow. The consultation document, released on 12/1/17 by the Department for Transport, argues that the current regime should continue for the next five years. It will then be clearer whether a third runway will be underway. Permission to build a third runway is expected to be conditional on a tougher night flight regime being introduced when it opens.
At present an average of 16 flights each night are allowed to land at Heathrow between 11.30pm and 6am. There are no scheduled departures during this period. The first flight lands at 4.30am.
The deadline for responding to the consultation is 28th February.
This is a hugely important national document which was launched on 2nd February, the same day as the National Policy Statement. The two consultations run in parallel. It covers key topics like airspace changes; respite; new metrics for measuring noise annoyance; and the setting up of an Independent Noise Authority.