Times Accuses Government of Muffling Noise Report

While pressing ahead with plans to build a third runway at Heathrow

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Residents concerned by aircraft noise can call BAA on 0800 344 844 or email noise_complaints@baa.com

HACAN web site is at www.hacan.org.uk

The government is sitting on a damning report about aircraft noise while pressing ahead with plans to build a third runway at Heathrow, according to a report in the Times newspaper.

The Department for Transport has previously claimed that it will only press ahead with expansion if it results in “no net increase” in the number of people disturbed by aircraft noise.
But the report suggests that the way the government is measuring aircraft noise is out of date and out of touch. As a result, the number of people being affected by noise from Heathrow could be ten times higher than the government’s official figures.

According to the Attitudes to Noise from Aviation Sources in England (ANASE) study, commissioned in 2001, as many as 2.5 million people are likely to be affected by aircraft noise from Heathrow.

This contrasts starkly with a figure of 250,000 to 350,000 people that has been used by the government and the aviation industry to date.

The huge disparity comes because the Department of Transport has previously argued that the “onset of community annoyance” (the level at which noise becomes annoying) is 57 decibels.

However, the study found that the level at which people start to get annoyed by noise is just 50 decibels, a figure that has been recognised and recommended by the World Health Organisation for many years.

Hounslow Council’s executive member for aviation, Councillor Barbara Reid, said: “This damning report should send a message as loud any 747 flying over Hounslow. The government must take our residents’ concerns about aircraft noise seriously.

“The council has long argued for the government to recognise the World Health Organisation’s recommendations on noise, but it has constantly turned a deaf ear.

“Now its own report, which it refuses to publish, is clearly supporting our position. It’s time for the government to hold up its hands and admit that the time has come to say no to any further expansion at Heathrow.”

October 10, 2007