Heathrow noise research quadruples numbers affected

Heathrow noise research quadruples numbers affectedBy Phil Davies

As many as one million people living near Heathrow suffer from aircraft noise – almost four times official estimates, research is reported to show.Residents become ‘annoyed’ by aircraft noise at a much lower level than has previously been claimed and the existing method of measuring the impact is outdated.

The research by Ian Flindell, a sound expert at Southampton university, and transport research group MVA Consultancy, suggests that significant annoyance starts at 50 decibels. More than one million people around the airport suffer this level of sound.

The Airports Commission is considering an option for a third runway at Heathrow using a benchmark of 57decibels as the level at which communities suffer ‘significant annoyance’.

London mayor Boris Johnson said that the new evidence on noise meant that expanding Heathrow was indefensible, the Mail on Sunday reported.

The resaerch suggests that using old data would “considerably underestimate the extent of reported community annoyance around UK airports”.

An Airports Commission spokesman told the newspaper: “A noise assessment will be needed to take forward the appraisal of proposals to improve airport capacity.

“We are currently consulting on the framework for the assessment and will consider this contribution.”

A Heathrow spokesman, quoted by the Sunday Times, said: “We know that people outside the 57db noise contour can still find noise annoying which is why we charge the quietest aircraft less to land at Heathrow and are always looking into new ways to reduce the impact of noise still further.”

Sourced from Travel Weekly

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