All posts by John Stewart

AIRCRAFT NOISE AND MENTAL HEALTH

HACAN, in conjunction with the Aviation Environment Federation, staged a successful seminar on aircraft noise and mental health on 4th July 2016 in Parliament.  It was chaired by Tanya Mathias MP.  The speakers included Dirk Schreckenberg, one of the authors of the ground-breaking NORAH Study, and Matt Gorman, Director of Sustainability at Heathrow Airport.

 Summary of presentations of seminar on aircraft noise and mental health (pdf)

Read latest blog on what could be done to ease the situation for people with mental issues living under the flight paths: http://hacan.org.uk/blog/?p=489

Here is the link to a powerful blog I put on the impact of concentrated flight paths on one man’s mental health http://hacan.org.uk/blog/?p=501 .

 

HEATHROW’S 2018 CONSULTATIONS

Heathrow consultations finished on March 28th

Heathrow Airport held two key consultations. One set out options for construction around a third runway in the more immediate area of the airport including a possible shorter runway, moving part of the M25, changes to the local road lay-out and compensation for the Heathrow villages.

The other set out options for the principles which inform the design of the extensive flight path changes, driven by new technology, which will be brought in whether or not a third runway is built.

Read the official HACAN response to the airspace consultation:  http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/HACAN-Response-to-Heathrow-Airspace-Consultation.pdf

Read the official HACAN response to the expansion consultation: http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/HACAN-response-Heathrow-consultation-expansion.pdf

Read the response from HACAN East: http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/HACAN-East-response-to-Heathrows-Airspace-Consultation.pdf

MAJOR REPORT FROM CAA

Major new departures report from CAA

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.

Read HACAN’s assessment of the report:  http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Blog-CAA-Report.pdf

Read the summary:   https://publicapps.caa.co.uk/docs/33/20180719%20CAP1691a%20Departure%20Noise%20Mitigation%20Summary%20Report.pdf

Full report:  https://publicapps.caa.co.uk/docs/33/CAP1691%20Departure%20Noise%20Mitigation%20Main%20Report.pdf

SE LONDON GETS NOISE RESPITE

South East London – No Respite  from aircraft noise

 HACAN today (13/8/18) is pleased to publish an important report by Forest Hill resident Tim Walker outlining what happens when London City and Heathrow airports combine to create community noise hotspots in south east London

Using London SE23 as an example, the paper aims to make clear to policymakers, campaigners and the two airports what the problems for communities are with the introduction of concentrated flight paths (City Airport) and separate development of the two London airport flight paths.

Noise from arriving London City Airport aircraft combined with departing and arriving Heathrow aircraft blights thousands of south east London homes, with no respite.

City Airport’s low altitude air superhighways, beginning in Feb 2016, have resulted in a perfect storm of aircraft noise for many SE London residents.

Respite means scheduled relief from aircraft noise for a period of time. There are community noise hotspots in SE London that receive no respite from 6.30am to 10pm nearly every day of the year.

Read the full report:  http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/No-aircraft-noise-respite-for-London-SE23-August-2018.pdf

RESPITE REPORT PUBLISHED

 Respite Report launched

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 .

Where to find the reports: https://www.heathrow.com/noise/making-heathrow-quieter/respite-research

Most people favour respite

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%).

You can reading about further findings here:   https://files.acrobat.com/a/preview/95fcb6e4-d297-4678-9a08-3a819f0529d9

Aircraft noise and health – some studies

 

 

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.

Recommended Limits

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.

For more details, see the HACAN press release:  http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/WHO-new-noise-guidelines-Press-Release.pdf 

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

HACAN’s plain person’s guide to the WHO report: http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Plain-Persons-Guide-to-WHO-report.pdf

A good overview of noise and health research:   Aircraft Noise and Public Health the evidence is loud and clear final reportONLINE

 And here is the summary: AEF_aircraft noise and health_FINAL3

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

Night Noise Guidelines for Europe:  Produced by the World Health Organisation in 2009.  These have been updated in 2018 – see above.

Night noise factsheet

 

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

New WHO Guidelines tougher on aircraft noise

The new noise guidelines from the World Health Organisation, published 10th October 2018, are tougher on aircraft noise than previously.

Recommended Limits

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.

For more details, see the HACAN press release:  http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/WHO-new-noise-guidelines-Press-Release.pdf 

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

We have done a plain person’s guide to the WHO report: http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Plain-Persons-Guide-to-WHO-report.pdf

WHO Report: People most likely to become highly annoyed by aircraft noise when change takes place

The new WHO report has found that more people are highly-annoyed by aircraft noise than 20 years ago and that high levels of annoyance are most likely to occur when change takes place (new airport; new runway; changed flight path).  But there are also other reasons for high levels of annoyance.  Read more here:  http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/WHO-new-aircraft-levels-assessed.pdf

High Court allows 3rd Runway legal challenges to go to full hearing

On 4th October the judge in the Courts of Justice ruled that 5 of the 6 of challenges to Parliament’s decision to back a 3rd Runway can go to a full hearing.  The one that was dropped was an individual in Birmingham.  The cases will be held over a 2 week period in March next year.   Elements of the cases he can combine to avoid duplication.

The four main challenges are from are from Hillingdon, Wandsworth, Richmond, Hammersmith & Fulham and Windsor & Maidenhead, backed by Greenpeace and the Mayor of London; the one from Heathrow Hub.  and challenges from Friends of the Earth and Plan B, both on climate change.  The fifth is from an individual based in SW London.

This ruling does not of course stop Heathrow preparing and consulting on its plans for a third runway.

Heathrow’s 3rd Runway Timetable

Assuming it is not derailed by any of the legal challenges, Heathrow intends to consult on its detailed plans for a third runway in 2019 before presenting its plans to a public inquiry in 2020.  The public inquiry by law cannot last more than 6 months and will largely rely on written evidence.  It is likely to make a recommendation to the Secretary of State for Transport in 2021.  If the Secretary approves the detailed plans, Heathrow aims to open the new runway in 2015.

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