CAA data, only obtained through FoI request, shows about 2.2 million people would be affected by noise from a 3 runway Heathrow

Over 2 million people could be affected by noise from an expanded Heathrow according to secret documents obtained by campaigners. Transport Secretary Chris Grayling had previously claimed in October 2016 that an expanded Heathrow (up to 50% more flights) would be quieter in 2030 than today. This claim (obviously ludicrous) was not repeated in the revised draft consultation on the Airports National Policy statement (NPS) published in October 2017. This predicted that 92,700 additional people in the area around Heathrow would be exposed to noise by 2030 as a consequence of the 3rd runway. Now, following an FOI request for the noise data contained in the CAA’s economic analysis, a new figure emerges of 972,957 households who would experience greater noise by 2060. This is the time frame for the full introduction of ‘quieter’ (= slightly less noisy) planes. Based on CAA assumptions on household size this figure is equivalent to 2.2 million people. The third runway, if approved, is expected to be fully open by 2028. At this point it is claimed that a maximum of 90% of the aircraft fleet would have been updated.  This excludes many of the noisier four-engine planes. It is likely therefore that at this point the numbers of people experiencing increased noise would be significantly higher.

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THIRD RUNWAY NOISE TO HIT OVER 2M PEOPLE

9.4.2018 (No 3rd Runway Coalition press release)

Over 2 million people could be affected by noise from an expanded Heathrow according to secret documents obtained by campaigners.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling had previously claimed in October 2016 that an expanded Heathrow would be quieter in 2030 than today (1).

This claim was not repeated in the revised draft consultation on the airports national policy statement (NPS) published in October 2017. This predicted that 92,700 additional people in the area around Heathrow would be exposed to noise by 2030 as a consequence of the third runway (2).

Now following an FOI request for the noise data contained in the CAA’s economic analysis, a new figure emerges of 972,957 households who would experience greater noise by 2060. This is the time frame for the full introduction of ‘quieter’ planes (3).

Based on CAA assumptions on household size this figure is equivalent to 2.2 million people.

The third runway, if approved, is expected to be fully open by 2028. At this point it is claimed that a maximum of 90 per cent of the aircraft fleet would have been updated.  This excludes many of the noisier four-engine planes. It is likely therefore that at this point the numbers of people experiencing increased noise would be significantly higher.

The detailed workings obtained from the CAA also show that within this figure there are 420,000 people who already suffer significant noise who would experience a doubling of flights overhead every day.

The 2.2 million figure is a best-case scenario. It relies on a flightpath strategy that aims to minimise the overall numbers affected. A different option which aimed to minimise the numbers newly affected by noise could increase the overall figure by 24% based on CAA calculations. (3)

Together with the noise from older planes that had not been replaced this could take the overall numbers affected to 3 million.

People’s real-life experience of noise is not reflected in the figures. The NPS proposes reducing the current half-day’s respite to one third. It also proposes that daytime flights should start every day at 0530 instead of 0600 currently.

The lack of information in the NPS on flight paths and the failure by the CAA to consider alternative flight path strategies makes it impossible for people to know if they will be affected and by how much.

Paul McGuinness, Chair of the No 3rd Runway Coalition, said:

“It has long been clear that the DfT have understated the numbers who will be impacted by an expanded Heathrow’s noise. Every analyst has pointed out that – by considering just one, and the most unrealistic flight path scenario – the figures were being massaged.

So, it’s hardly surprising to learn that these CAA calculations were not presented to the public and parliament. The DfT wish to conceal the true impact of expanding this highly disruptive airport, that sits at the heart of our country’s most densely populated region. And news of this concealment simply completes the narrative”. 

John McDonnell MP said:

“As the true impact of expanding Heathrow is revealed, the more politicians are realising that it is a political costly and environmental liability for any political party that tries to force it through”

Zac Goldsmith MP said:

“It is astonishing that even while virtually every argument put forward in the Airports Commission and subsequently by Government to support the third runway has had to be abandoned or significantly revised, the Government’s position on the third runway has not altered one jot.

“The Government’s own figures show that Heathrow expansion is the most polluting, most expensive, least economically beneficial, and most difficult to deliver of the options. And now we learn that, disgracefully, the Government has deliberately downplayed the number of people who stand to be affected by noise.”

The CAA’s economic analysis, which uses the DfT’s webTAG appraisal model, was made available on January 31, 2018 following a Freedom of Information request (3).

ENDS.

Notes:

  1. Chris Grayling, Statement to Parliament, 25 October 2016 https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/airport-capacity
  2. Appraisal of Sustainability, Revised NPS, October 2017 https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/654320/aos-revised-draft-airports-nps-non-technical-summary.pdf p. 22
  3. FOI https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/aviation_policy_framework_metric_2#incoming-1104762

For more information – Rob Barnstone, 07806 947050; Robert.barnstone@outlook.com  

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Heathrow third runway noise would affect 2.2m people, analysis finds

Official files show government expects 973,000 households to face increased daytime noise

More than 2 million people would be exposed to additional aircraft noise if Heathrow builds a third runway, according to a government analysis.

Ministers have argued that Britain’s biggest airport will affect fewer people with noise in future, due to quieter planes. But government calculations suggest a new runway would still have a negative impact on nearly a million households, or 2.2 million people.

Department for Transport documents, released by the Civil Aviation Authority after a freedom of information request, show the government expects 973,000 households around Heathrow to experience increased daytime noise by 2050 after a third runway is built.

It said 673,800 households affected by Heathrow’s two runways will experience less noise once expansion takes place, making a net 300,000 worse off.

The DfT work was carried out for a revised national policy statement published last year, which gives the green light to Heathrow expansion if approved by a parliamentary vote expected this summer.

Campaigners and parliamentary opponents of expansion accused the government of attempting to bury the figures.

Paul McGuinness, the chair of the No 3rd Runway Coalition, said: “It has long been clear that the DfT have understated the numbers who will be impacted by an expanded Heathrow’s noise.

“So it’s hardly surprising to learn that these calculations were not presented to the public and parliament. The DfT wish to conceal the true impact of expanding this highly disruptive airport.”

According to the Heathrow anti-noise group Hacan, households in Heston, Osterley Park, Brentford and parts of Chiswick and Hammersmith would be brought directly under a new flight path.

When announcing the government’s backing for a third runway in 2016, the transport secretary, Chris Grayling, told the House of Commons: “Even with expansion, fewer people will be affected by aircraft noise than today.”

In February, he told the transport select committee: “If you look ahead 20 years, I expect an expanded Heathrow airport to be quieter than the existing two-runway airport.”

The policy statement acknowledged that 92,700 more people around Heathrow would by 2030 be affected by noise at levels recognised as causing disturbance, although it said the numbers would diminish as plane technology improved.

The DfT said increased noise would be addressed by home insulation and compensation. “We have been clear that expansion at Heathrow would not be allowed to proceed without a world-class package of compensation and mitigation measures for local communities,” a spokesperson said.

“This includes noise insulation for homes and community buildings and a community compensation fund worth up to £50m per year. We have consulted extensively on the options for airport expansion and will continue to engage with MPs and their communities as the proposals develop.”

Heathrow insisted fewer people would be affected by noise than at present, even with another runway. “We stand by our commitment to expand Heathrow while reducing the number of people affected by noise, compared to today. We are currently consulting with our local communities on airspace modernisation, which will redesign how planes fly over Heathrow in coming years,” a spokesperson said.

“Any future modelling of noise impacts must take into account these changes, as well as the stringent mitigation and insulation plans Heathrow will put in place, which will continue to reduce the number of people affected by our operations.”

The airport has managed to double passenger numbers and decrease its noise footprint in recent decades, as the oldest and loudest planes have been phased out. It expects to be held to a 6.5-hour night flight ban as a condition of building a third runway.

Airspace around Heathrow is also to be redesigned, which could see fewer newly affected households, although with 50% more flights, taking the total number to up to 740,000 a year, limiting additional flightpaths would concentrate the burden on areas that are already overflown.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/apr/09/heathrow-third-runway-noise-affect-people-government-documents

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