Gatwick may have, on a technicality, reduced the size of its “noise footprint”, but thousands outside this area are badly affected

Gatwick airport reported – according to a new report by the CAA  – that its noise footprint had shrunk “following an initiative to modify noisy aircraft.” However, people affected by Gatwick noise are not impressed. Local group CAGNE commented that “Those that sit outside of Gatwick’s shrinking noise footprint are those significantly impacted by Gatwick noise as well as those newly affected by the concentrated flight paths.” …“The problem with the CAA report is that they worked on an average of noise (16 hour daytime and 8 hour night over 2017 summer).  Residents awoken at night or unable to use the garden during the day due to aircraft noise, do not hear noise in an average way, they hear noise as significant events whilst endeavouring to enjoy their desired tranquility.   Areas of Sussex, Kent and Surrey, outside of the footprint, report they are significantly affected by aircraft noise but are not included in the footprint as they reside outside of the LOAEL (Government noise metric of Lowest Observed Adverse Effect Level) and noise contours…. It is true that planes are quieter, but the frequency by which they are flown has dramatically increased …”

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CAGNE, Communities Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions, comment on the report and Gatwick’s press statement ‘Gatwick’s noise footprint shrinks following initiative to modify noisy aircraft – 24/07/2018’**.

26.7.2018 (CAGNE press release) – Communities Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions

“The problem with the CAA report is that they worked on an average of noise (16 hour daytime and 8 hour night over 2017 summer).  Residents awaken at night or unable to use the garden during the day due to aircraft noise, do not hear noise in an average way, they hear noise as significant events whilst endeavouring to enjoy their desired tranquility.   Areas of Sussex, Kent and Surrey, outside of the footprint, report they are significantly affected by aircraft noise but are not included in the footprint as they reside outside of the LOAEL (Government noise metric of Lowest Observed Adverse Effect Level) and noise contours.”

It is true that planes are quieter, but the frequency by which they are flown has dramatically increased and this is having a significant impact on residents as is the lack of ‘best practice’ to how planes are flown to reduce noise by airlines.”

The CAA report details an increase of aircraft movements of 780.8 for 2017, a 1% increase on 770.6 in 2016 during an average day of 16-hours, and an increase of 1% from 2016 to 127.1 aircraft movements for 8 hour average at night.

Gatwick detail why the noise footprint has shrunk, but CAGNE would point out the following:

It took residents many years of letter writing to EasyJet and Gatwick to have the A320 retro fitted to reduce the noise.  This acclimatising with the formation of the Gatwick Arrival Review that formed the Noise Management Board and had the retro fit as an activity to be undertaken.  The final agreement by EasyJet, and other airlines, to retrofit to reduce noise on arrivals and departures has to be welcomed.

Another factor that could illustrate why the population impacted by Gatwick has reduced is that Gatwick introduced concentrated flight paths on all departure routes in 2014 that has caused huge increases in noise complaints even though Gatwick has removed the complaint email address and phone line.

Prior to 2014 communities had accepted dispersed flight paths, sharing the burden of Gatwick’s 24/7 noise activities, but with the introduction of concentration on departures (PRNAV for modernisation of airspace) comes single carriageway motorways above peoples homes which are unbearable especially as Gatwick continues to push for growth.

Noise complaints continue to grow to 24,658 for 2017 from 17,715 for 2016, significant increases from years when the aviation industry describes planes as  ‘very noisy’ (4,791 in 2006).

The Noise Management Board is made up of predominantly community groups concerned with noise outside of the noise contours, illustrating that the footprint may be seen to have shrunk in an average way, but not according to residents of Kent, Surrey and Sussex.

This month Gatwick management were asked to meet with the Aviation Minister and local MPs due to the significant increases in Gatwick’s noise impacting those that have no reprieve from aircraft noise and those that are not recognised as being significantly affected by aircraft noise.

CAGNE would like to see Gatwick address the totality of noise some communities are expected to tolerate with no respite in a fair and equitable way and produce noise metrics that actually calculate what residents actually experience in the way of noise and duly offer them true compensation for loss of wellbeing. “

*https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/noise-exposure-contours-around-london-airports

**https://www.gatwickairport.com/business-community/aircraft-noise-airspace/noise-explained/how-noise-is-measured/

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Gatwick’s noise footprint shrinks following initiative to modify noisy aircraft

24/07/2018   (Gatwick Airport press release)

  • This good progress welcomed but recognition that more must be done to reduce noise further
  • Airbus A320 family of aircraft fly more than half Gatwick flights and – following the introduction of financial incentives – 97% of them have been modified to reduce noise
  • Local communities react positively to reduction in noise from these modified aircraft

The Noise Management Board first met two years ago and its initiative to modify the A320 family of aircraft so they make less noise has helped to reduce the area of Gatwick’s noise footprint by 3% in 2017 – compared to 2016 – according to the annual independent noise contour analysis by the Civil Aviation Authority.

The reduction in noise has occurred despite the number of aircraft increasing by 1% over the same period.

Using the nationally recognised standard measurement (57dB leq) – the reduction in Gatwick’s noise footprint over the last 20 years has been:

  • 201742.6Km2         3,400 people
  • 2007 46.7km2        4,800 people
  • 1997 86.1km2        12,300 people

The independent NMB brings the local community and the aviation industry together within a formalised structure and is considered to be an industry-leading approach to managing noise issues at a local level.

The NMB initiative contributing to the shrinking noise footprint saw the A320 family of aircraft modified so that they no longer made a pitched whine sound during parts of their approach to landing.

These aircraft currently fly more than half of all Gatwick flights but – following a change in financial charges to encourage airlines to use quieter aircraft – 97% of A320s have now been adapted, reducing the noise and generating positive feedback from local communities.

In terms of future noise reductions, the next generation of these aircraft (A320neo/ A321neo) are up to 50% quieter than their predecessors and have started to come into service at Gatwick.

Andy Sinclair, Gatwick’s Head of Airspace, said:

The reduced noise footprint is welcome and demonstrates encouraging progress but we also recognise that noise continues to be an issue for local residents and we will push on with our challenge to reduce noise further. 

“Some of the work we are progressing will deliver further improvements over both the short and longer term.  This includes the large scale redesign of London and Gatwick’s airspace, which has the potential to reduce noise from the airport further still.”

Bo Redeborn, Chairman of the Noise Management Board, said:

“The NMB’s reason for being is to improve life for those affected by noise from aircraft flying in and out of Gatwick and the airport’s shrinking noise footprint suggests that we are starting to make some progress toward this aim.  

“For example, a Continuous Decent Approach (CDA) means that aircraft use less thrust and generate less noise by descending at a continuous rate, rather than a stepped approach, and the CDA conformance at Gatwick was raised for all arrivals from 6000 to 7000 ft to reduce noise even further.  Next generation aircraft that are up to 50% quieter have also started flying at Gatwick and over the next few years these will become the workhorses of the airport and will help reduce noise even more.”

The 2017 report can be found here: annual independent noise contour analysis

An update from NMB 11 (June 27 2018) can be found here.

An overview of the NMB can also be found here

http://www.mediacentre.gatwickairport.com/press-releases/2018/18_07_23_noise_footprint.aspx

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Gatwick’s noise footprint shrinks following initiative to modify noisy aircraft

It’s good news but more still needs to be done.

25.7.2018 (Crawley News)

The Noise Management Board first met two years ago and its initiative to modify the A320 family of aircraft so they make less noise has helped to reduce the area of Gatwick’s noise footprint by 3% in 2017 – compared to 2016 – according to the annual independent noise contour analysis by the Civil Aviation Authority.

The reduction in noise has occurred despite the number of aircraft increasing by 1% over the same period.

Using the nationally recognised standard measurement (57dB leq) – the reduction in Gatwick’s noise footprint over the last 20 years has been:

• 2017 42.6Km2 3,400 people
• 2007 46.7km2 4,800 people
• 1997 86.1km2 12,300 people

The independent NMB brings the local community and the aviation industry together within a formalised structure and is considered to be an industry-leading approach to managing noise issues at a local level.

The NMB initiative contributing to the shrinking noise footprint saw the A320 family of aircraft modified so that they no longer made a pitched whine sound during parts of their approach to landing.

These aircraft currently fly more than half of all Gatwick flights but – following a change in financial charges to encourage airlines to use quieter aircraft – 97% of A320s have now been adapted, reducing the noise and generating positive feedback from local communities.

In terms of future noise reductions, the next generation of these aircraft (A320neo/ A321neo) are up to 50% quieter than their predecessors and have started to come into service at Gatwick.

Andy Sinclair, Gatwick’s Head of Airspace, said:

“The reduced noise footprint is welcome and demonstrates encouraging progress but we also recognise that noise continues to be an issue for local residents and we will push on with our challenge to reduce noise further.

“Some of the work we are progressing will deliver further improvements over both the short and longer term. This includes the large scale redesign of London and Gatwick’s airspace, which has the potential to reduce noise from the airport further still.”

Bo Redeborn, Chairman of the Noise Management Board, said:

“The NMB’s reason for being is to improve life for those affected by noise from aircraft flying in and out of Gatwick and the airport’s shrinking noise footprint suggests that we are starting to make some progress toward this aim.

“For example, a Continuous Decent Approach (CDA) means that aircraft use less thrust and generate less noise by descending at a continuous rate, rather than a stepped approach, and the CDA conformance at Gatwick was raised for all arrivals from 6000 to 7000 ft to reduce noise even further. Next generation aircraft that are up to 50% quieter have also started flying at Gatwick and over the next few years these will become the workhorses of the airport and will help reduce noise even more.”

The 2017 annual independent noise contour analysis https://www.gatwickairport.com/business-community/aircraft-noise-airspace/noise-explained/how-noise-is-measured/
An update from NMB 11 (June 27 2018) can be found here. https://www.gatwickairport.com/contentassets/64b8529453614f169203ed844631067e/nmb-11-ip33-review-of-nmb-11.pdf
An overview of the NMB can also be found here. http://www.gatwickairport.com/nmb

Gatwick’s noise footprint shrinks following initiative to modify noisy aircraft