Heathrow anti-3rd runway campaigners play aircraft noise in Central London to mark International Noise Awareness Day
Marking International Noise Awareness Day, Heathrow anti-third runway campaigners brought aircraft noise to the streets of Central London to illustrate the fact that London is the most overflown city in Europe. Campaigners from a range of organisations accompanied a lorry – blaring out loud aircraft noise through loudspeakers – at around the level people experience under the approach flight path – outside Europe House in Smith Square. This was to highlight the fact that already 28% of the people who are affected by aircraft noise right across Europe live under the Heathrow flight paths. After Smith Square, the lorry headed off back towards Heathrow, blaring its noise, approximately along the course of the arrivals flight path for a the new northern runway that Heathrow wants. European Commission’s figures show that over 725,000 people (see source and fact check below) are impacted by noise from Heathrow flights and another 25,000 by flights using London City airport. That is nearly a third of all people affected by aircraft noise right across Europe. John Stewart, the chair of HACAN, said that on noise grounds alone a new runway at Heathrow should be ruled out. Adding an extra 250,000 Heathrow flights per year is not a reasonable proposition.
Anti-third Runway campaigners play aircraft noise in Central London to mark International Noise Awareness Day
27.4.2016 (Hacan press release)
On International Noise Awareness Day, Wednesday 27th April, Heathrow anti-third runway campaigners brought aircraft noise to the streets of Central London to illustrate the fact that London is the most overflown city in Europe.
Anti-3rd runway campaigners representing 8 different organisations (HACAN, Stop Heathrow Expansion, Chiswick Against the Third Runway, West London Friends of the Earth, Hammersmith Friends of the Earth, Hammersmith Says No, Ealing Aircraft Noise Action Group and AirportWatch) accompanied a lorry blaring out loud aircraft noise this morning outside Europe House in Smith Square to highlight the fact that already 28% of the people who are affected by aircraft noise right across Europe live under the Heathrow flight paths.
Campaigners, wearing colourful ear-defenders, (not just for decoration, but necessary against the ear-splitting din) gathered in Smith Square, home to the European Commission in London, where they played aircraft noise. A lorry blaring out aircraft noise, drove slowly round the square, accompanied by the campaigners, before driving off to Heathrow – along the line of the new arrivals flight path, if a third runway at Heathrow were to be given the green light.
The European Commission’s figures show that over 725,000 people (see source and fact check below) are impacted by noise from Heathrow flights and another 25,000 by flights using London City airport. That is nearly a third of all people affected by aircraft noise right across Europe.
John Stewart, the chair of HACAN, the residents’ organisation fighting a third runway, said, “On noise grounds alone a new runway at Heathrow should be ruled out. It beggars belief that the Government is still considering whether or not to allow another 250,000 flights a year to use Heathrow. Heathrow is already in a noise league of its own.”
The Government is expected to give the green light for a third runway at Heathrow or a second runway at Gatwick later this year.
International Noise Awareness Day 21st anniversary
INAD 2016: Wednesday, April 27, 2016
All over the world, people, organizations, and governments will commemorate the 21st Annual International Noise Awareness Day (INAD) on Wednesday, April 27, 2016. The Center for Hearing and Communication (CHC) founded this yearly event in 1996 to encourage people to do something about bothersome noise where they work, live, and play.
Contact us to share what you’re planning for INAD so we can publish it on the Noise Center. So far, we’ve heard from people fed up with noise who are planning INAD events here in New York City to as far as Italy and Latvia. Watch this space for info on INAD commemorations all over the globe, how to start your own, and learn more about the history.
Why do we care so much about unwanted noise?
In the short term, noise causes stress, and as most of us understand, stress is terrible for your health. In the long term, noise causes hearing loss—and hearing loss is also detrimental to your health.
Individuals and communities no longer accept that noise is a natural by-product of an industrial society. Grassroots activist groups address the issue of noise in their own communities. New Yorkers gave noise as the leading complaint to quality to the city’s life quality hotline.
Adults may be the ones to have the greatest concerns about and problems dealing with noise, but children can suffer just as much, and there may be no indication as such to their parents.
Full Fact check on the claim that Heathrow has 28.5% of the people affected by aircraft noise, across Europe:
“25 per cent of people in Europe who suffer from aviation noise live near Heathrow”
Boris Johnson, Today, Radio 4, 18 January 2012
On this morning’s Today program the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, made the interesting claim that a quarter of Europe’s residents suffering from aviation noise were those living near Heathrow airport.
His claims come amidst a recent debate over a proposed new airport on the Thames Estuary, set to be subject to a Government consulation.
Full Fact looked into the figures behind the claim.
Mr Johnson’s claim appears to be based on a report from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) published in December 2011, which claimed “Heathrow accounts for more than one quarter of the people affected by aviation noise at the European level”.
In it, CAA provide a list of the top fifteen UK airports (below), listing Heathrow airport as having an impact on 725,500 people, or 28.5 per cent of people in Europe.
The measure used to calculate the area affected is called the Lden. This is measured as the Leq (equivalent continuous noise level) over 24 hours, adjusted with a 5 dB weighting during the evening and a 10 dB weighting at night.
The standard measure of the number of people affected by an aviation noise is the number of people living in an area where the Lden is 55 dB or more, used by both the CAA and the EU. Hence it does not necessarily apply to all residents necessarily ‘affected’ by the noise, but those most affected in terms of decibels.
However, although the CAA refer to a figure of 2.5 million from 2006, a report to the European Commission from MPD Group Ltd in 2006estimated that 2.2 million people were affected (estimated to have increased to 2.4 million by 2010). The 725,500 figure is 29 per cent of 2.5 million.
Full Fact contacted the CAA regarding the source of the latter figure, and received this reply:
“Firstly, the total number of people at Heathrow within the 55 Lden contour is 756,000 as published in ERCD Report 0706, which can be accessed by clicking here. [CAA link no longer available].
The estimate of 2.5 million for the total number of people affected by aviation noise in the EU is derived from each Member State’s (MS) submission as published by the Commission on its CIRCA website; please click here to access the relevant information. The difference in estimations was the result of some confusion over the initial submissions to the Commission. The submission had to be reported in 100’s of people, but it would appear that the data from some MS had not been multiplied by 100; hence the initial data was around 2.2 million.”
The Mayor of London’s claim that Heathrow accounts for 25 per cent seems to be a slight underestimate according to the figures provided by the CAA.
It is nonetheless worth noting that these figures are from 2006 and therefore may not necessarily still apply, but they do appear to be the latest figures available and applied when the CAA report was published last month.