PDF Icon Understanding UK CommunityAnnoyance with Aircraft Noise ANASE Update Study

This report was commissioned by the London Borough of Hillingdon on behalf of the 2M group of Local Authorities* around Heathrow Airport. Its aims were to:

  • review, and where justified to rebut, any and all of the criticisms of the Attitudes to Noise from Aviation Sources in England (ANASE) study made by the Department’s non-SP review group;
  • review the results of the ANASE study against comparable studies carried out in Europe and elsewhere; and
  • provide a detailed commentary on the implications for assessing aircraft noise disturbance and annoyance associated with current and proposed future airport development.

 The report asserts problems in existing UK policy on aircraft noise assessment and its evidence base. It argues that:

  • The findings of the government-commissioned 2005 ANASE study are more robust than the previous ANIS study of 1982. However,  it states that Government policy continues to be based on the older study.
  • The ANASE findings are more up-to-date, reflecting the views of communities around 20 UK airports in 2005/6, whilst the research still being used to inform Government policy obtained the views of residents in 1982, more than 30 years ago, when aircraft sound levels and numbers were very different to today.
  • The ANASE findings are consistent with non survey-based sources of reported community annoyance (e.g. complaints by the public to government and aviation authorities) and corroborate these vocal indications that significant proportions of some communities outside 57 LAeq – such as areas in and around Eton & Windsor, East Sheen, Barnes and Putney – report that they find aircraft noise to be annoying.
  • The ANASE findings are consistent with the current known situation across Europe – whilst the research still used by UK government may be consistent with the European situation of 30 years ago.
  • The ANASE research findings provide evidence of the ratio between aircraft numbers and average sound levels that best reflects community annoyance, which is consistent with historical UK evidence (in particular, the Wilson Committee adoption of NNI).

In contrast, this research asserts that community annoyance is more influenced by changes in aircraft sound levels than changes to aircraft numbers, ANIS, was biased in the way it asked residents to think only of the noisiest aircraft situation (with no mention of numbers of aircraft) when considering their annoyance with aircraft noise.

*The views expressed in this report are those of the authors and have been derived without influence from the 2M group, or any other interested party.