Defra publishes its noise action plan for agglomerations (section on aircraft), roads and railways
Defra has updated its Noise Action Plans for large urban areas, roads and railways following a consultation that closed in October 2013. There has been no update to the guidance for Airport Operators since July 2013 but the Noise Action Plan for agglomerations has some information about aviation noise. The Government‟s policy on noise is set out in the Noise Policy Statement for England (NPSE). Its vision is to: “Promote good health and a good quality of life through the effective management of noise within the context of Government policy on sustainable development.” It aims to avoid, mitigate and minimise significant adverse impacts on health and quality of life. Earlier Defra prepared guidance for airport operators on how to prepare their Noise Action Plans, including the management of aircraft noise affecting noise sensitive buildings, such as schools and hospitals. Unfortunately responsibility for preparing airport Action Plans rests with the relevant airport operators, which is akin to having the fox in control of the hen-house. Those troubled by aircraft noise have found airport Noise Action Plans to be high on words, and worthy statements of good intent, but low on any real actions or targets to genuinely reduce aircraft noise – with rising numbers of air transport movements.
Defra has updated its Noise Action Plans for large urban areas, roads and railways following a consultation that closed in October 2013. There has been no update to the guidance for Airport Operators since July 2013 but the Noise Action Plan for agglomerations has some information about aviation noise.
Noise Action Plan: Agglomerations
Environmental Noise (England) Regulations 2006, as amended – January 2014
Below are some extracts, relating to airports, from the document.
This Action Plan has been developed by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) as the Competent Authority for preparing and adopting this Action Plan under the terms of the Environmental Noise (England) Regulations 2006, as amended („the Regulations‟). The Regulations implement the Environmental Noise Directive (END) in England. The END requires, on a five year cycle:
The determination, through noise mapping, of exposure to environmental
noise from major sources of road, rail and aircraft noise and in urban areas
(known as agglomerations)
Provision of information to the public on environmental noise and its effects.
Adoption of Action Plans, based upon the noise mapping results, which are
designed to manage environmental noise and its effects, including noise
reduction if necessary.
Preservation of environmental noise quality where it is good, particularly in
This Action Plan applies to relevant authorities within the 65 END agglomerations [An agglomeration is an urban area with a population in excess of 100,000 persons and a
population density equal to or greater than 500 people per km2] that were covered by the second round of strategic noise mapping, undertaken during 2012.
It accompanies two additional Action Plans, which are being published at the same time, covering the management of noise from road and railway sources. Responsibility for preparing airport Action Plans rests with the relevant airport operators.
In line with the Government‟s policy on noise, this Action Plan aims to promote
good health and good quality of life (wellbeing) through the effective management
of noise. It is intended that this Action Plan will assist the management of environmental noise in the context of Government policy on sustainable development.
This means that those authorities responsible for implementing this Action Plan will need to balance any potential action to manage noise with wider environmental, social and economic considerations, including cost effectiveness.
This Action Plan will be relevant to the various highway and rail authorities responsible for transport in the agglomerations, local authorities in agglomerations, including those with environmental, transport and planning responsibilities, and interested members of the public.
It has been estimated that the approximate number of people associated with the Important Areas identified through the process described in this Action Plan for the 65 agglomerations, with respect to road and rail noise, is just over 130,000. This is expected to correspond to just over 3,300 Important Areas.
The equivalent figures covering Important Areas for major roads and major railways outside agglomerations can be found in the roads and railways Action Plans, which also describe the process used to identify them.
Noise is a natural consequence of a mature and vibrant society. Noise, however, can have major implications for quality of life (wellbeing), human health, economic prosperity and the natural environment.
The Government‟s policy on noise is set out in the Noise Policy Statement for England (NPSE). The NPSE‟s vision is to:
“Promote good health and a good quality of life through the effective management of noise within the context of Government policy on sustainable development.”
Its aims are to:
avoid significant adverse impacts on health and quality of life;
mitigate and minimise adverse impacts on health and quality of life; and
where possible, contribute to the improvement of health and quality of life.
Of the 65 agglomeration areas it includes, the table on page 31 shows which are affected by which airport. Those relevant to Gatwick and Heathrow are Crawley Urban Area; the Greater London Urban Area and Slough Urban Area respectively
3. Implementing this Action Plan
3.1 The responsibility for the management of noise from road and railway sources lies with various authorities including the Department for Transport and the relevant transport authorities. The implementation of this Action Plan forms part of their existing responsibilities in this area.
4. Monitoring and review
4.1 Defra will monitor the progress of this Action Plan through liaison with the
relevant authorities and will provide periodic updates on progress. As required by the Regulations, this Action Plan will be reviewed at least once every five years.
The Action Plans cover:
Part B: Noise from road traffic …………………….. 13
Part C: Noise from railways ………………………… 16
Part D: Noise from industry …………………………. 19
Part E: Noise from aircraft ……………………………. 21
Part F: Quiet areas ……………………………………….. 24
The section on Noise from Aircraft states:
Part E: Noise from aircraft
The management of the impact of aircraft noise in agglomerations
This section applies to agglomerations affected by noise from the operations
at airports covered by the Regulations.
As outlined in the regulations, the relevant Airport Operators are the Competent Authorities for development of the Action Plan for their airport.
The Regulations required that noise level information from aircraft (air noise) [Footnote: The Regulations require that only air noise be mapped; that is the noise from the moment that the aircraft is about to move down the runway at take-off (known as start of roll) to the moment after landing and just before it turns off the runway to taxi to the stand.] be determined in terms of several noise indicators. These include:
15.4 The estimated total number of people and dwellings exposed above various
noise levels from the strategic mapping of noise from aircraft using these
airports will be available on the Defra website.
The relevant airports are either revising their existing Noise Action Plans or preparing an Action Plan if none already exists. The Airport Action Plans will be published on the websites of the relevant Airports.
For the purposes of this Noise Action Plan, only the noise impact from those airports for which noise mapping was required to be carried out according to the Regulations has been considered. Some agglomerations are not affected by noise from any of those airports. A list of agglomerations affected by aircraft noise covered by the Regulations is shown in Appendix C, along with links to the relevant airport Action Plans.
16. Noise from aircraft in agglomerations: identification of problems and situations that need to be investigated
Defra prepared guidance for airport operators regarding the preparation of their Action Plans. It included the following:
As a first priority, consider what further measures should be taken in areas shown by the noise maps to have residential premises exposed to more than 69 dB LAeq,16h according to the results of the strategic noise mapping;
Consider what further measures should be taken to assist the management of aircraft noise affecting noise sensitive buildings, such as schools and hospitals, in the light of the policy in the Aviation Policy Framework; and
More generally, examine the day, evening and night results produced from the noise mapping and consider whether there are any features of the noise impact from departing or arriving aircraft that might be managed further.
Noise from aircraft in agglomerations: actions that Defra intends to take
Defra will review the draft Noise Action Plans prepared or revised by the various airport operators to be satisfied that the requirements of the regulations have been met and the action planning guidance followed. The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is responsible for formally adopting the airport Noise Action Plans.
An airport operator will need to consider whether any element of their proposed airport Action Plan might conflict with any formally identified quiet areas. In order to avoid any such conflict arising, Defra will liaise with airport operators whose operations affect an agglomeration and inform them of any quiet areas.
Noise from aircraft in agglomerations: long term strategy
Defra will continue to encourage any development of future policy on aviation and sustainable transport to reflect any emerging scientific knowledge or trends in community response to noise from aircraft.
Defra will continue to liaise with the Department for Transport regarding the establishment of reliable data on the community response to noise from aircraft.
Defra will continue to develop, agree and disseminate good practice approaches and methodologies through the Interdepartmental Group on Costs and Benefits noise subject group (IGCB(N)) to support the policy appraisal of noise. Further information is available from www.defra.gov.uk/evidence/economics/igcb.
DEFRA: No plans for stakeholder events on Airport Noise Action Plans
there are no current plans to hold a stakeholder event to consider airport NAPs. The letter, from the Environmental Noise Policy Team states:“Major airports i.e. those with 50,000 annual movements and above have been required under the EU Environmental Noise Directive to map the noise impact of their airport and produce strategic action plans. These plans – which have to be produced in consultation with the local community – are required to set out proposed action by airports to mitigate aircraft noise.17 airports in England have been required to submit draft plans to Government for consideration for formal adoption. The majority of the airports have now submitted plans which are being subjected to a rigorous scrutiny process.Once formally adopted by Government, airports are then required to publish the final plans on their website. There are no current plans to hold a stakeholder event to consider airport NAPs. However the Department for Transport proposes to publish a summary of emerging trends and issues arising from the plans later this year.”http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=4269
Gatwick Campaigners slam airport’s revised noise action plan
Date Added: 24th May 2010
Campaigners from GACC have attacked the revised Gatwick Airport Noise Action Plan as “flawed” and the result of a consultation which was “largely a sham.” GACC says the current situation on the draft NAP is “extremely unsatisfactory.” From a FoI request they have discovered that the revised draft after consultation only included a few changes even though the public – and GACC – had submitted many comments and constructive proposals. Click here to view full story…
Noise Action Plans and Noise Policy Statement for England
Date Added: 16th March 2010
The Noise Action Plans published today are for road and rail, not for airports
which were done during 2009. Also published today is the Noise Policy Statement
for England (NPSE) which sets out noise management policy for the first time in
the form of the Government’s long term vision to manage noise and improve health
and quality of life through the management of noise within the context of Government
policy on sustainable development. (Defra)
Click here to view full story…
Plans to tackle airport noise a sham, say campaigners
Date Added: 11th February 2010
Research by AEF for AirportWatch has found that airport ‘noise action plans’
will fail to tackle impacts on local communities. European laws now require airports
to draw up action plans to tackle their noise pollution. But these plans are written
by the airports themselves, and just re-state what they already have to do to
comply with, local planning requirements. Not one plan meets all the requirements
of the EC law, and airports have failed even to comply with the weak demands of
the EU’s legislation.
Click here to view full story…
Airport Noise Action Plans Not Fit For Purpose
Date Added: 6th October 2009
Environmental Protection UK has considerd a number of the airport draft noise
action plants, and feels overall that they are not fit for purpose. They are in
essence a summary of what the airports are already required to do and, with airport
operators as the competent authority, the plans contain very little in terms of
additional controls that would avoid, prevent and reduce environmental noise from
these airports. Click here to view full story…