Campaigners at London City Airport demand true noise measurement – combining Heathrow + London City flight noise
Campaigners at London City Airport are calling for a change in the way aircraft noise is measured, and more needs to be done to protect people living under noisy flight paths. The group’s chair, John Stewart, says the problem is partly down to a lack of measurement of the cumulative noise produced by flight paths from several airports (Heathrow and London City here) which both affect one area. He believes separate measurements of just each airport’s noise fail to give a true picture of the impact on residents, resulting in official statistics that underestimate aircraft noise levels. Both need to be combined in order to get a figure for the total noise in order to get an accurate assessment of the real noise levels experienced by residents. John said: “In the areas of east and south east London, where people get planes from both London City and Heathrow, noise levels will be a lot higher than official statistics show.” The concerns remain despite mayor of London Boris Johnson’s blocking of London City Airport’s proposed expansion. HACAN East says the Greater London Assembly backed cumulative noise readings, from both airports combined, two years ago, and that the airport should recognise this. It suits the aviation industry to deliberately keep the noise figures separate.
Campaigners demand true aircraft noise measurement
6.4.2015 (Newham Recorder)
By Sebastian Murphy-Bates
Campaigners are calling for a change to the way aircraft noise is measured.
Noise pollution activist group HACAN East, which opposed the expansion of London City Airport over aircraft noise fears, says more needs to be done to protect people living under noisy flight paths.
For the group’s chair, John Stewart, the problem is partly down to a lack of measurement of the cumulative noise produced by airports whose flights cross neighbouring areas.
He believes separate measurements of each airport’s noise fail to give a true picture of the impact on residents, resulting in official statistics that underestimate aircraft noise levels.
“We need to get a figure for the total noise if we are to get a picture of the real noise levels experienced by residents,” he said. “In the areas of east and south east London, where people get planes from both London City and Heathrow, noise levels will be a lot higher than official statistics show.”
The concerns remain despite mayor of London Boris Johnson’s blocking of London City Airport’s proposed expansion.
Declan Collier, CEO at London City Airport, told the Recorder that his airport has the strictest noise policiy in the UK.
He cited the airport’s noise mitigation plans in pursuit of the expansion, its adherence to a cap on air movements, commitment to try and reduce noise contour areas, incentives for quieter aircraft and funding for sound-proofing in homes affected by any expansion.
But John Stewart claims the Greater London Assembly backed cumulative noise readings two years ago, and that the airport should recognise this.
And he says that not only are Collier’s measures insufficient – but the industry is intentionally providing the seperate, misleading figures to suit itself.
“It is not rocket science to assess the cumulative noise,” he said. “The suspicion remains that it suits the aviation industry not to paint the full picture.”
by John Stewart
Last week the London Mayor, Boris Johnson, turned down City Airport’s application to expand on noise grounds. Although the decision caught people by surprise, there was a widespread feeling that the airport had it coming because of the cavalier way it has dealt with residents, local authorities and elected politicians over the years. I spelt this out in an opinion piece for the Newham Recorder:http://www.hacaneast.org.uk/?p=643
The question must arise: would City Airport’s attitude have been different if it was dealing with a wealthier population? We will never know for sure it certainly impacts on some of the poorest communities in the UK.
According to the latest Indices of Deprivation (2010), Hackney, Newham, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest are among 15 most deprived local authorities in the country. And Barking and Dagenham, Greenwich, Lewisham and Lambeth make it into the top 50. Moreover, Hackney, Newham and Tower Hamlets have highest percentage of deprived people in the UK (1).
They will also be the communities which fly the least. They are the victims of what Les Blomberg, the executive director of the US-based Noise Pollution Clearing House called ‘second-hand noise’: “noise that is experienced by people who did not produce it. Like second-hand smoke, it’s put into the environment without people’s consent and then has effects on them that they don’t have any control over.”
A good neighbour would tailor its strategy, and particularly its communications, to the needs of its communities. In areas of real deprivation, variable online skills and limited access to technology, a good neighbour would ensure it provided plenty of leaflets and regular face-to-face meetings with the public. It would make sure its materials were written in clear, simple language.
London City simply does not do this. The recent consultation on its plans to concentrate its flight paths over particular communities was a prime example. The consultation took the form of putting a technical document on its website and of informing its supine consultative committee. Nothing more. No leafleting of the areas that would be affected. And by only consulting online, City Airport effectively disenfranchised a huge number of people. Across the UK, 21% of people can’t operate online, but amongst C2, D and E classes it is 72%; and for those in 65+ bracket it is 52% (2).
It is hard to avoid the conclusion that London City Airport, rather than trying to tailor its work to meet the needs of the area it impacts, is using the demographics of the area to get away with doing as little as possible.
(2). Media Literacy: Understanding Digital Capabilities follow-up; Ipsos Mori, 2014