Campaigners demand true aircraft noise measurement

John Stewart, chair at HACAN East (Pic by Phil Weedon)

John Stewart, chair at HACAN East (Pic by Phil Weedon) - Credit: Archant

Campaigners are calling for a change to the way aircraft noise is measured.

Noise pollution activist group HACAN East, which opposed the expansion of London City Airport over aircraft noise fears, says more needs to be done to protect people living under noisey flight paths.

For the group’s chair, John Stewart, the problem is partly down to a lack of measurement of the cumulative noise produced by airports whose flights cross neighbouring areas.

He believes separate measurements of each airport’s noise fail to give a true picture of the impact on residents, resulting in official statistics that underestimate aircraft noise levels.

“We need to get a figure for the total noise if we are to get a picture of the real noise levels experienced by residents,” he said. “In the areas of east and south east London, where people get planes from both London City and Heathrow, noise levels will be a lot higher than official statistics show.”

The concerns remain despite mayor of London Boris Johnson’s blocking of London City Airport’s proposed expansion.

Declan Collier, CEO at London City Airport, told the Recorder that his airport has the strictest noise policiy in the UK.

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He cited the airport’s noise mitigation plans in pursuit of the expansion, its adherence to a cap on air movements, commitment to try and reduce noise contour areas, incentives for quieter aircraft and funding for sound-proofing in homes affected by any expansion.

But John Stewart claims the Greater London Assembly backed cumulative noise readings two years ago, and that the airport should recognise this.

And he says that not only are Collier’s measures insufficient – but the industry is intentionally providing the seperate, misleading figures to suit itself.

“It is not rocket science to assess the cumulative noise,” he said. “The suspicion remains that it suits the aviation industry not to paint the full picture.”