London Gatwick airport sought to put noise reduction at the center of a campaign to be chosen as the location for a new runway ahead of the U.K.’s Heathrow hub with a pledge to upgrade more than 1,000 homes with double glazing.
Gatwick will provide 3,000 pounds ($5,000) per house — about 3 million pounds in total — to fund measures including loft insulation and enhancements to windows and doors, the airport, owned by Global Infrastructure Partners, said today.
Gatwick’s campaign for local backing comes as Heathrow, Europe’s busiest airport, begins distributing booklets on its rival growth plan to 140,000 households and businesses. A government commission into runway capacity in southern England, led by Howard Davies, highlighted the two sites as best-suited to the expansion required to maintain London as a major air hub.
The Gatwick plan “takes into account both the increased sensitivity people have towards noise levels, as well as the frequency of how many times they might be overflown,” the airport said. While the extension of noise-control measures could double the number of homes involved to 2,000, some 70,000 would have to be covered if the same criteria were applied in Heathrow’s much more densely populated hinterland, it said.
Heathrow Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Colin Matthews said in a separate release that its six-week consultation beginning today will seek to determine what local people most value so that the expansion plan can be refined accordingly.
Heathrow revealed last month it was looking at shifting one proposed location for a third runway further south to reduce an overlap with the M25 highway that circles London and avoid destruction of historic buildings including a barn built in 1426 said to rival Westminster Abbey for architectural merit.
Even then, constructing an additional landing strip would involve demolishing 950 homes.
Gatwick said it has widened the catchment area for homes qualifying for insulation by setting the baseline at 60 Leq — a measurement of decibel levels over an extended period — rather than 66 Leq previously.
The noise contour has also been extended along flight paths by 15 kilometers (9 miles) east and west of the airport.
Gatwick, Europe’s busiest single-runway airport, said that with a second strip its noise would affect 11,800 people, less than 5 percent of the number already impacted by Heathrow today. It also argues that growth would be swifter and less costly than at Heathrow, which has broad airline backing.
To contact the reporter on this story: Robert Wall in London at firstname.lastname@example.org
PDF, 3.8MB, 43 pages
.Above is a very rough drawing of approximately what the noise contour – requiring sound insulation etc – might look like with the addition of a second runway to the south (rough line in red showing indicative outer margin of area even the airport acknowledges is very badly affected). Drawing from AirportWatch, not from Gatwick airport, though based on the Gatwick map above..
Airport says: “London Gatwick announces most innovative noise mitigation scheme in Europe”
3 February 2014 (Gatwick airport website)
- Ground-breaking scheme increases noise boundary by 15km each end of the runway
- Number of homes which will now be eligible has increased by over 40%
- Community must come first says Gatwick
- Gatwick challenges Heathrow to match scheme on the day Heathrow starts community consultation
Today, London Gatwick has announced it is significantly expanding its noise insulation scheme, making it the most innovative of any airport in Europe. The new scheme will cover over one thousand more homes across Surrey, Sussex and Kent. They will be able to apply for up to £3,000 towards double glazing for their windows and doors as well as loft insulation. This will mean that over 40% more homes will be protected from noise than are covered with the old scheme.
The major changes to the scheme are two-fold. First the noise boundary for the scheme has increased by using a lower level of noise from 66 Leq to 60 Leq as a baseline with the boundary line drawn flexibly to ensure entire roads and communities are included. Secondly, the noise contour boundary has been drawn along the flight paths by 15km to both the east and west of the airport. We are not aware of any other airport in the world offering a scheme of this magnitude.
Crucially, the scheme takes into account both the increased sensitivity people have towards noise levels as well as the frequency of how many times they might be overflown. If the new scheme is taken up by all eligible households in the Gatwick area it would cover around 2,000 homes. As a comparison, if the same scheme was applied to Heathrow it would have to cover around 70,000 homes due to the fact aircraft have to overfly densely populated areas of London. A similar scheme at Heathrow would extend to Windsor in the west and Putney in the east, covering landmarks such as Windsor Castle and Kew Gardens.
The impact of both the level and frequency of aircraft noise on local communities needs to be a critical issue for the Airports Commission’s assessment of the Heathrow and Gatwick runway proposals. Gatwick’s noise impacts are already significantly lower than at Heathrow. With a second runway, the number of people impacted by noise at Gatwick would be up to 11,800. This is equivalent to less than 5% of the people Heathrow impacts today¹. Heathrow currently impacts more people than all of the other major European airports combined² and under their current expansion plans over 700 additional flights could use the airport each day.
Commenting on the proposals Stewart Wingate, London Gatwick CEO, said: “The leadership position we have taken on aircraft noise today shows the importance we attach to our local community as we continue to compete and grow from a single runway, but also as we plan to build a second. We understand that the public’s tolerance to noise is much lower than it was which is why we are now extending our noise insulation scheme to cover the 30km flight path east and west of the airport.
“It is crucial that the UK has a deliverable, quick and affordable solution to where the next runway will be. Gatwick can give the UK the economic benefits it needs at an environmental cost it can afford. The role of local communities is critical and must not be over looked. As Heathrow starts to consult its local communities about a third runway they should break their silence about noise and think seriously about following our lead.”
Independent noise expert Dr Ian Flindell said: “Extending the boundaries of Gatwick’s new noise insulation scheme to include more people at lower sound levels is a very innovative departure from existing practice, and demonstrates a huge commitment to the surrounding community. It appears to be among the most generous of similar schemes I have seen across other European airports and possibly worldwide. Aircraft noise can be a very serious issue for many people living near airports, and anything that the airport can do to mitigate this problem is entirely worthwhile.”
Notes to Editors
High resolution versions of the Gatwick and Heathrow maps attached to this release can be downloaded here:
¹ The CAA’s annual noise contours show that Heathrow impacts around 239,000 people today.
² Source: Dft Draft Aviation Policy Framework Consultation July 2012.
Changes to Gatwick’s Noise Insulation Scheme include:
- Leq is a measurement used to express the average sound level over a 16-hour, 92-day summertime average.
- Contours based on 60 Leq, which has been improved from the previous 66 Leq. This automatically widens the contour area covered.
- Noise at 60 Leq level can be compared to listening to a conversation a short distance away. In comparison, 66 Leq is more akin to hearing a vacuum cleaner a short distance away.
- The east and west boundaries have been expanded by 15km each way from the point of aircraft touchdown. This covers a significantly larger area at each end of the runway, where local people suffer from noise from approaching aircraft.
Gatwick offered all local households eligible for the previous scheme the opportunity to comment and feedback on it before designing the new scheme, as well as local authorities and Gatwick’s consultative committee GATCOM.
Gatwick will write to every household eligible under the new scheme in advance of 1 April to outline the process for applying for scheme.
About Dr Ian Flindell
Dr Ian Flindell is widely known across Europe as an independent acoustics consultant and as a teacher and researcher at the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research (ISVR).
He is a recognised expert in subjective acoustics, specialising in the assessment and management of environmental noise, particularly around airports, and has contributed to the development of standards, regulations and methods of assessment.
Dr Flindell has been an expert witness at major airport development public inquiries (for British Airports Authority plc) and co-authored the UK government report (for Dept. of Transport) ‘Attitudes to Noise from Aviation Sources (2007). He has also managed ISVR’s contribution to various EU projects including ‘Sound Engineering for Aircraft (SEFA)’ and ‘Community Oriented Solutions to Minimise Aircraft Noise Annoyance (COSMA)’.
NOISE INSULATION SCHEME EXPANDED AT LONDON GATWICK
Written by Justin Burns (Airport World)
Gatwick’s new noise boundary scheme
London Gatwick has announced it is significantly expanding its noise insulation scheme – which it says will make it the ‘most innovative airport in Europe’.
The new scheme will cover over 1,000 more homes across Surrey, Sussex and Kent, meaning more than 40% more homes will be protected from noise than are covered with the old scheme.
And householders will be able to apply for up to €3,500 towards double-glazing for their windows, and doors as well as loft insulation.
As part of the new scheme, the noise boundary has been increased by using a lower level of noise from 66 Leq to 60 Leq as a baseline, with the boundary line drawn flexibly to ensure entire roads and communities are included.
Secondly, the noise contour boundary has been drawn along the flight paths, by 15km to both the east and west of the airport, and Gatwick says, it is not aware of any other airport in the world ‘offering a scheme of this magnitude’.
The scheme is also said to take into account both the increased sensitivity people have towards noise levels, as well as the frequency of how many times they might be overflown.
If the new scheme is taken up by all eligible households in the Gatwick area, it would cover around 2,000 homes.
Gatwick says the impact of both the level and frequency of aircraft noise on local communities needs to be a critical issue for the Airports Commission, who will recommend next year, whether Heathrow or Gatwick should have an additional runway built.
Stewart Wingate, London Gatwick CEO, says: “The leadership position we have taken on aircraft noise today shows the importance we attach to our local community as we continue to compete and grow from a single runway, but also as we plan to build a second.
“We understand the public’s tolerance to noise is much lower than it was, which is why we are now extending our noise insulation scheme to cover the 30km flight path east and west of the airport.
“It is crucial that the UK has a deliverable, quick and affordable solution to where the next runway will be. Gatwick can give the UK the economic benefits it needs at an environmental cost it can afford. The role of local communities is critical and must not be over looked.
“As Heathrow starts to consult its local communities about a third runway they should break their silence about noise and think seriously about following our lead.”
The extended noise insulation programme will roll out from April 1, 2014.
Gatwick throws down gauntlet to Heathrow over noise insulation
Gatwick extends insulation scheme to cover more households, and challenges Heathrow to follow suit
Gatwick is extending its noise insulation scheme to stretch 30km and has challenged Heathrow to follow suit, as the battle for an extra runway hots up.
The airport, which itself wants a second runway, challenged Heathrow to match its offer – meaning it would have to cover an estimated 70,000 households, from Windsor in the west to Putney in the east.
Heathrow already offers free sound proofing measures, including double glazing, ventilation and loft insulation, to some 40,000 homes under the flight path.
Gatwick’s current scheme covers just under 1,200 homes within the noisier 66 leq contour. It claims the new offer, covering a total of 30km of rural land from east to west, will be the most generous in the world when it is rolled out in April 1 this year.
Gatwick’s announcement marks a fresh intensity in the fight for a new runway, with the Airports Commission having whittled down the options to a shortlist of three: two at Heathrow and one at Gatwick.
Gatwick’s chief executive Stewart Wingate said: “The leadership position we have taken on aircraft noise today shows the importance we attach to our local community as we continue to compete and grow from a single runway, but also as we plan to build a second.
“We understand that the public’s tolerance to noise is much lower than it was which is why we are now extending our noise insulation scheme to cover the 30km flight path east and west of the airport.”
The Leq scale is used to measure average noise over an extended period; 66 Leq is comparable to that from a vacuum cleaner, while 60 Leq is that of a nearby conversation.
A Heathrow spokeswoman said: “Around 40,000 homes are eligible for noise insulation under Heathrow’s current noise schemes.
“Our proposal for a third runway would see fewer people affected by noise than today due to quieter aircraft and new flight paths. We have said that if government supports a third runway at Heathrow then any areas which do experience new noise or a significant increase in noise should be eligible for free noise insulation.”
Heathrow today launched a six-week consultation about its plans for a new runway to the north-west of the existing two.
Booklets are being sent to 140,000 homes and business around the airport asking for people’s views on the new runway’s operation. These will be used to revise its final proposal, due to be submitted to the Airports Commission in May.
People will also be able to have their say at a series of exhibitions, with locations including Brentford Holiday Inn on March 6, from midday to 8pm, and Hounslow Civic Centre on March 8, from 9.30am to 4.30pm.
John Stewart, chairman of anti-Heathrow expansion campaign group HACAN, has branded the consultation a ‘PR exercise’, claiming the real issue is whether a new runway is needed in the first place.