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.
On 2nd February 2017 the Department launched its consultation on a third runway at Heathrow. It comes in the form of a National Policy Statement. It will be a 16 week consultation. In the paper the Government stresses its belief that a third runway is required to improve connectivity to countries across the world but it has outlined a series of challenging measures that Heathrow will need to take if it is to get the go-ahead.
At the end of the year or early next year Parliament will vote on the National Policy Statement. Only if Parliament approves it will a 3rd runway officially become Government policy.
After that Heathrow will need to submit detailed plans to a Planning Inquiry. It does not expect to get approval until at least 2020.
A guest article fromJane Davison, Professor of Accounting, Royal Holloway, University of London, a longstanding resident of Bedford Park in Chiswick and a member of CHATR, Chiswick Against Third Runway.