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 Airports Commission Discussion Paper 05: Aviation Noise

The Airports Commission has published its fifth discussion paper, this time on Aviation Noise. The paper explores current scientific understanding and existing policy on aviation and noise and seeks responses to questions to develop the evidence base. It discusses the impacts of aviation noise on health, the issue of annoyance and how this develops over time. It considers different methodologies for measuring noise and approaches to mitigation. And it looks at specific issues, including night noise.

The study, finds that more people are affected by noise at Heathrow Airport in London than by any other major European airport. Moreover, Heathrow handles far few passengers and aircraft movements than any other British airport for every local resident disturbed by aircraft noise.

The Commission’s 67-page report uses the traditional measure of evaluating noise exposure – a level of 57 decibels over a 16-hour period from 7am to 11pm. On this measure, it finds that Stansted handles 12,467 passengers for every person affected by noise – 47.8 times more than the 261 passengers handled by Heathrow. For Gatwick the figure is 9,233 passengers, while Luton handles 3,927 and Manchester 638.

The paper seeks responses from stakeholders to a series of questions by Friday 6 September to noise.paper@airports.gsi.gov.uk.