Scientists identify enzyme responsible for vascular damage caused by aircraft noise during night/sleep

A lot of different studies have shown there are negative health impacts on people exposed to aircraft noise at night, when people sleeping should be experiencing many hours of quiet. Now a study from Germany shows that this may be caused by an enzyme (phagocytic NADPH oxidase) they have identified.  Aircraft noise during the hours people are trying to sleep leads to an increased development of cardiovascular diseases in the long term. Studies have shown that simulated nocturnal noise increases the stress hormone epinephrine, reduces sleep quality, and damages the vascular system, causing endothelial dysfunction. There is increased oxidative stress, and inflammatory processes in the vessels as well as a marked change in the expression of genes in the vessel wall. This damage is not seen in the absence of the enzyme. The scientists now also examined the effects of aircraft noise on the brain, looking at neuronal nitric oxide (NO) synthase, the function of which is impaired when there is aircraft noise during the night period that should be quiet. The study shows it is important to protect the night’s sleep from noise, with a period of 8 hours (10pm to 6am) protected from noise. Heathrow’s airlines do NOT want a proper ban on night flights even for six and a half hours, let alone more.
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Scientists identify enzyme responsible for vascular damage caused by aircraft noise

Date:  June 14, 2018
Source:   Johannes Gutenberg Universitaet Mainz
Summary:
In a recent study, scientists have identified an enzyme responsible for aircraft-related vascular damage. The researchers were also able to show that night-time noise has a particularly harmful effect and thus demand that night-time sleep be protected from noise.
FULL STORY
In a recent study, scientists at the Department of Cardiology at the University Medical Center of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) have identified an enzyme responsible for aircraft-related vascular damage. The researchers were also able to show that night-time noise has a particularly harmful effect and thus demand that night-time sleep be protected from noise. With the current study, the scientists around Professor Thomas Münzel, Director of Cardiology I at the Department of Cardiology, and Professor Andreas Daiber, Head of Molecular Cardiology at the Department of Cardiology, consistently pursue the field of noise research and can announce another breakthrough.

 

Aircraft noise leads to an increased development of cardiovascular diseases in the long term, as a series of precursor studies has now shown unequivocally. In 2013, the research group of Professor Thomas Münzel succeeded in demonstrating that simulated nocturnal noise increases the stress hormone epinephrine, reduces sleep quality, and damages the vascular system, called endothelial dysfunction. Further studies on a newly developed animal model showed last year that aircraft noise leads to a significant increase in stress hormones, a vascular dysfunction, increased oxidative stress, and inflammatory processes in the vessels as well as a marked change in the expression of genes in the vessel wall.

“With this new study, we can demonstrate for the first time that ‘night-time noise’, i.e., noise during the sleep phase of the mice, and not the noise during the waking phase is responsible for vascular dysfunction,” stated Münzel and Daiber. “We can also show that the elimination of the enzyme phagocytic NADPH oxidase, which is located mainly in inflammatory cells, completely avoids aircraft noise-induced negative effects on vessels and brain.” This enzyme was also in the focus of the scientists in the last study. The current investigations finally prove its central role and provide also proof that the negative aircraft noise effects are mediated by this enzyme.

The scientists now also examined the effects of aircraft noise on the brain. The focus was on neuronal nitric oxide (NO) synthase, an important enzyme in the brain. Responsible for learning and memory, this enzyme is down-regulated by aircraft noise and its function is impaired. This new finding may explain the described cognitive developmental disorders in children after exposure to aircraft noise.

Another finding is that the transcription factor FoxO3 plays a central role in noise-induced vascular and brain damage. The consequence of the observed down-regulation of this transcription factor by night-time noise leads to a defective gene expression network that controls cellular events as a function of circadian rhythm. Disturbance of the circadian rhythm can lead to sleep disorders and subsequently to more cardiovascular, mental, and metabolic disorders. To this end, the scientists came to this recognition through extensive genetic analysis by means of Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) and by demonstrating a prevention of the aforementioned vascular damage by treatment with the FoxO3 activator Bepridil.

According to the study initiators, these results represent a further breakthrough in noise research. “With our findings, especially with regard to night-time noise, we can now explain clinical results, e.g., according to the so-called HYENA study, where night-time noise in particular can trigger high blood pressure. The finding that the elimination of the enzyme phagocytic NADPH oxidase completely prevents vascular damage may enable us to develop drug strategies to reduce the negative effects of aircraft noise for our body,” both scientists commented.

The authors conclude from their findings that it must be an important goal to protect the night’s sleep from noise and in particular to implement the legally defined night’s sleep from 10 o’clock at night to 6 o’clock in the morning.

Story Source:

Materials provided by Johannes Gutenberg Universitaet MainzNote: Content may be edited for style and length.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/06/180614095235.htm

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See also:

German study shows link between aircraft noise (day or night) and atrial fibrillation

With an increasing level of noise, the incidence of atrial fibrillation also increases dramatically. From a study of 15,000 men and women aged 35 to 74 in Germany, scientists found that the incidence of atrial fibrillation in subjects who reacted to noise with extreme annoyance increased to 23%, compared to 15% without the noise. Looking at the proportion of sources of extreme noise pollution, aircraft noise came first with 84% during the day and 69% during sleep. The results were published recently in the International Journal of Cardiology. Other studies have shown the link between noise (that may be causing anger, disturbed sleep, exhaustion or stress) that impairs wellbeing, health (including cardiovascular disease), and the quality of life. There is probably a link between cardiac impacts and noise, even when the person is not aware of being made irritated or angry by the noise. The increase in atrial fibrillation may be the reason why there is a connection between noise and strokes. The ban in night flights at Frankfurt from 11pm to 5am did not lead to less noise annoyance, but more – as the overall number of flights did not reduce. Noise was worse than before between 10-11pm and 5-6am.   

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2018/05/german-study-shows-link-between-aircraft-noise-day-or-night-and-atrial-fibrillation/

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Studies show that at least 7 hours of sleep are needed, each night, by adults

Living under a flight path, along which aircraft fly at below – say 7,000 feet – is noisy. It is all the more noisy now that the aviation industry is introducing narrow, concentrated flight paths. These are replacing the older more dispersed routes, as aircraft have new “PBN” technology (like car satnav) and can fly far more accurately than in the past. And it suits the air traffic controllers to keep flight paths narrow. But if airports allow flights at night, or if the “night” period when flights are not allowed is short, this has consequences for people living near, or under, routes. Studies carried out scientifically show adults need at least 7 hours of sleep, each night to be at their healthiest. Children and teenagers need more.There are some people who need more than 7 hours per night, and some need less. It is not good enough to get less one night, and more the next – the brain does not process the day’s memories adequately. Studies show adverse effects of not getting enough sleep, which are not only related to concentration, speed of thinking or reacting etc, but also medical effects. The concentrated flight paths, and airports allowed to have flights all night, are causing very real problems. A study into noise and sleep by the CAA in 2009 looked at the issue, and said a large and comprehensive study is needed, but it is “likely to be expensive.”   

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/06/studies-show-that-at-least-7-hours-of-sleep-are-needed-each-night-by-adults/

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Night flight noise likely to increase risk of Type 2 diabetes for those living under flightpaths

Research by the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute in Basel has shown that people who live below an airport flightpath are more than 80% more likely to have type 2 diabetes than people who live in quieter areas. The findings have led scientists to suggest that aircraft noise, rather than air pollution, could be to blame. The noise of the planes overhead, when they are low and loud, is likely to have a devastating effect on the body’s metabolism, leading to increased blood sugar levels. The effect is largely from noise at night, confirming that night flights are damaging to health. The cost to the health of over-flown populations needs to be properly taken into account, and given enough significance against small economic benefits of night flights to airports and airlines (which is how the DfT assesses the issue at present). Heathrow already has – by an order of magnitude – the most people affected by night flights, with over 700,000 living within the 55 Lden noise average contours. The link to diabetes is through the body’s reaction to stress, raising blood pressure.  Noise stimulates the body’s sympathetic nervous system and the hypothalamus–pituitary–adrenal axis, leading to increased blood pressure, heart rate, and levels of the “stress hormone” cortisol. Type 2 diabetes can lead to heart disease, strokes, limb amputations and blindness. It affects over 3 million people in the UK.  

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2017/04/living-under-flightpath-roar-may-cause-diabetes-scientists-say-residents-who-are-exposed-to-daily-aircraft-noise-are-86-per-cent-more-likely-to-have-the-type-2-condition/

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Willie Walsh adamant Heathrow must have arrivals well before 5.30am – then full on for next 2 hours.

He won’t accept a six and a half hour ban on scheduled night flights, let alone unscheduled.

International Airlines Group (IAG), which is Heathrow’s biggest customer, has submitted its evidence to the Transport Committee, to its inquiry into the Airports NPS. IAG does not agree there should be a ban on night flights of six and a half hours, that the NPS and the DfT are proposing – hoping that would overcome local opposition to the runway. The WHO says for good health, people need 7 – 8 hours sleep, and more for some age groups. Therefore even six and a half hours is not enough. But IAG says …”the NPS does not recognise the operational flexibility required for flights to connect and deliver the associated benefits. The Government should therefore avoid unreasonable restrictions on night operations that would prevent economically valuable connections.” … from small changes IAG has made “Local communities have therefore benefited … from a reduction in noise while no additional night movements have been granted at Heathrow in return.” … if Heathrow opened at 7am, that would be 2 hours later than Frankfurt … to make the best use of the new runway, increase connectivity etc … “the first arrivals will need to be scheduled to have landed and be on-stand ready to disembark passengers by 05:30, with a high arrival movement capacity in the subsequent 1-2 hours.”

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Government accused by Councils of ignoring Transport Select Committee recommendations in final Heathrow NPS

Hillingdon, Wandsworth, Windsor &Maidenhead, and Richmond Councils have accused the government of misleading MPs on the Heathrow runway plans (the Airports NPS). They say the government has only incorporated 3 out of 25 of the recommendations by the Transport Select Committee (TSC) recommendations into the final NPS, while trying to give the impression it has taken far more account of them. Chris Grayling told the Commons (5th June) that 24 of the 25 recommendations had been “acted upon” and that expansion at Heathrow had been agreed by the Cabinet. The 4 councils are calling on Mr Grayling to return to Parliament and explain to MPs why the TSC advice has been brushed aside. The Councils need to see a definition of an acceptable maximum number of people newly exposed to plane noise, by a 3rd runway. Among their demands, they want assurance that planning approval would only be granted if the target for no more airport-related traffic can be met.  Also a more stringent interpretation of air quality compliance including ‘headroom’ to manage future increases in pollution – and clarity on how the requirement for 15% of new slots will be secured for domestic connections, rather than just warm, woolly wording.
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Government accused of ignoring select committee recommendations in final Heathrow expansion policy

Hillingdon Council, alongside Wandsworth, Windsor and Maidenhead, and Richmond have accused the government of misleading MPs

By Qasim Peracha (Get West London)
9 JUNE 2018

A coalition of anti- Heathrow expansion councils have accused the government of only incorporating three out of 25 select committee recommendations in its Heathrow plan.

Hillingdon Council , alongside Wandsworth, Richmond , and Windsor and Maidenhead have been opposed to the third runway being added to Heathrow Airport and have in the past launched legal challenges against expansion.

Following the publication of the National Policy Statement on Airports, the councils have accused the government of not including recommendations made by the Transport Select Committee (TSC).

The coalition of councils say that of the 25 recommendations, the government omitted 22 in its final report published on Tuesday (June 5).

After the report was published, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling told the Commons 24 of the 25 recommendations had been “acted upon” and that expansion at Heathrow had been agreed by the cabinet.

The coalition is now calling on Mr Grayling to return to parliament and explain to MPs why, after months of scrutiny by the select committee, its recommendations were not included in the final National Policy Statement (NPS).

According to the councils, recommendations asking for a definition of an acceptable maximum number of people newly exposed to noise and for planning approval to be granted only if the target for no more airport-related traffic can be met are missing from the final statement.

A vote is due to be held in the coming days, where MPs will be given a final decision on expansion.

Transport Select Committee recommendations allegedly omitted by the government include:

  • more detail on the evidence on environmental, health and community impacts on all three short-listed schemes
  • updated population estimates to reflect the increased number of air traffic movements from a northwest runway scheme
  • a more stringent interpretation of air quality compliance including ‘headroom’ to manage future increases in pollution
  • planning approval to be granted only if the target for no more airport-related traffic can be met
  • a clear definition of how the requirement for 15 per cent of new slots will be secured for domestic connections
  • updated noise modelling to reflect a range of flightpath scenarios
  • a definition of an acceptable maximum number of people newly exposed to noise
    a condition that planning consent would only be granted if the Secretary of State was satisfied that the scheme would avoid ‘significant adverse impacts on health and quality of life from air quality’.

Cllr Ray Puddifoot , leader of Hillingdon Council, said: “It is a disgrace that the government has failed to address the TSC’s significant concerns regarding exposure to noise and pollution in its final NPS report, showing little regard or protection for those people whose lives will affected by increased noise and air pollution from a third runway at Heathrow.

“There is not even any attempt to consider a range of different flight path options so that people could have some idea if they will be affected by Heathrow expansion, and for how long each day they will be subjected to aircraft noise.

“This once again demonstrates what a flawed and ill thought through project this is.”

The cabinet has given the go-ahead for a new third runway at Heathrow Airport (Image: PA)
However, the coalition has been attacked by pro-expansion group Back Heathrow, which said the councils were “disingenuous” and “at it again”.

Parmjit Dhanda, Back Heathrow executive director and former government minister under Gordon Brown, said: “The ink is barely dry on ballot papers and these four local councils are at it again.

“They have already wasted over a million pounds of tax-payers money over the last decade on legal challenges, when they could have spent it on local services.

“They are now shaping up to waste even more money on legal challenges if don’t get their own way when MPs vote on expansion in the coming days.

“We have now seen council leaders in Hillingdon, Richmond, Wandsworth and Maidenhead & Windsor putting out press releases that appear to be part of a ‘softening up exercise’ to spend even more of your money opposing a democratic decision, if Parliament backs a new runway.”

Back Heathrow Executive Chairman Parmjit Dhanda (left) with Ealing Southall MP Virendra Sharma at a pro-Heathrow reception (Image: Back Heathrow)
The group says it has the support of more than 100,000 residents who believe the airport’s expansion will bring jobs and prosperity to west London and the Thames Valley.

Mr Dhanda added: “The councils have been disingenuous on this. The government says it has accepted 24 out of 25 recommendations, but many of these recommendations will be incorporated in to the planning stage of the process and that includes important measures on air quality and noise.

“The councils haven’t said that, and are only looking to delay and confuse, which will ultimately delay creation of 77,000 jobs for local people.”

A Department for Transport spokesman said: “The committee was clear when they published their report that they accepted the need for airport expansion in the south east and that the Heathrow Northwest Runway scheme is the best option for delivering it. We have welcomed and have acted on 24 of their 25 recommendations.

“Where appropriate we have done this through amendments to the National Policy Statement. In other cases we have confirmed that these are issues best addressed later in the planning process, once detailed proposals are developed, or through the national Aviation Strategy, which we are taking forward this year.”

https://www.getwestlondon.co.uk/news/west-london-news/government-accused-ignoring-select-committee-14764274

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See also

Comment by the AEF on the government’s attempt to ignore CO2 emissions due to Heathrow 3rd runway

In the final version of the NPS, together with updated versions of the draft of papers and analysis that accompany it, the DfT claims to have implemented 24 out of the 25 recommendations of the Transport Committee, which provided official parliamentary scrutiny of the proposals. But it is hard to spot much change in the final NPS than the earlier version – especially on the key environmental challenges to expansion. The AEF comments that the climate change impact of Heathrow expansion was not even mentioned in Grayling’s statement to the House of Commons. Yet the project is in fact no easier to reconcile with climate change targets now than it was in 2010, when a court ruled that it would be “untenable in law and common sense” for the Government to continue to uphold its policy to build a third runway without showing how this would be compatible with the climate change legislation passed in 2008. While current plans to achieve the Climate Change Act are built around an assumption that aviation emissions will be no higher than 37.5 Mt by 2050, with a 3rd Heathrow runway CO2 emissions nationally would be  over 40 Mt,  under the DfT’s policy of support for growth at other airports. The Government has just ignored the advice of the Committee on Climate Change.

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Consultancy AvGen finds, yet again, Heathrow’s “Fly Quiet & Green” programme comes up with weird, incorrect, results

Heathrow has published the results from its Fly Quiet & Green programme for 2018 Quarter 1.  Unfortunately it seems determined to persist with the flaky arithmetic and absence of logic and common sense that characterised the results for previous quarters (which remain unaltered). For Q1, as with previous quarters, league table scores have again been inflated, this time by an average of around 44% compared to the results that are produced when Heathrow’s own published methodology and performance rankings are used.  Once again that increase has not been applied uniformly across all 50 airlines (a number of them have been awarded more than double the number of points that they merit), with the result that the relative league table positions are significantly altered. Below are some examples, from consultancy, AvGen, showing the arbitrary results – which do not appear to be based on much logic – of airlines being put into higher and lower rankings, based on their noise and emissions. By contrast with the Heathrow figures, those from AvGen show the greenest airline is Aer Lingus – not Scandinavian. The second greenest is Finnair, not LOT Polish Airlines. Curious that Heathrow does such odd things with the data ….
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With the Heathrow scoring system on noise, the higher the score, the “greener” the airline supposedly is (N.B. “greener” covers CO2 and NOx emissions as well, not just noise).

Why do Heathrow inflate all the scores?  AvGen says this is presumably to make airlines, overall, look better than their performance actually merits.

Why do they favour/penalise particular airlines?  It is unclear.  There was discussion about this from September 2017 at the Heathrow Community Noise Forum meeting. See http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2017/10/avgen-analysis-casts-doubt-on-accuracy-of-heathrows-fly-quiet-clean-league-table/

This gives the comment of someone who attended this meeting:

“My impression of the discussion [about the Fly Quite & Clean programme] at HCNF was that Heathrow made no attempt to defend their methodology and answer any detailed criticisms from AvGen – but rather just stated that their purpose with FlyQuiet was to promote active engagement with airlines to improve their practices and they were comfortable with how they were doing it.

“It left me with the impression that they could well manipulate the figures to pick off particular airlines when they felt it appropriate to do so and reward others in a somewhat arbitrary process. They say they have responded to AvGen – it would interesting to see what they said and hear their views on the rigour and impartiality of the process.”

(For the record, Heathrow have never entered into any meaningful discussion with AvGen regarding the variation between their findings and those of Heathrow.)

AvGen suggests that, to really show up the Heathrow system, people should challenge the airport to identify how many points, from the total number awarded to each airline, relate to the Track-keeping metric.  There is no way they can answer that question without exposing their flawed calculations.


The two sets of rankings – Heathrow’s and AvGen’s

Some details taken from a larger table from AvGen, showing the different rankings by Heathrow, compared by those obtained by AvGen.

Among the many anomalies in the Q1 results are:

a   First placed airline Aer Lingus, with 834 points, is arbitrarily demoted to the Number 3 slot in the table, while 3rd placed Scandinavian is bizarrely awarded the Number One position.

b   Lufthansa and Austrian are given an unjustified hike up the table (by 10 places each).

c   Air Malta and South African, whose performance qualifies them for joint 19th place with 583 points each are inexplicably awarded 13th and 27th place respectively and separated by 86 points (see attached worked example).

d   Other airlines entitled to feel aggrieved with this quarter’s published results include China Southern (yet again), though this time they are only relegated 11 places from their rightful position compared to 20 in the last quarter, together with Aeroflot and Alitalia (both demoted by 10 positions).

e   “RAG” (red/amber/green) classifications are again applied inconsistently;  for example Qantas and El Al, ranked 44th and 45th respectively by Heathrow for early/late movements, get an “Amber” for that category while BA Longhaul, ranked 38th for that metric by Heathrow, gets a “Red”.

f    Heathrow’s results, which aim to compare the “top 50” airlines (defined by number of flights in Q1) completely omit Vueling and Japan Airlines, while Korean, PIA and Kuwait (all with far fewer flights) are included.

Attached is AvGen’s detailed audit of the Q1 results, contrasting Heathrow’s scores and league table placings with those calculated by AvGen using Heathrow’s own published methodology and metric performance rankings.  We have copied these to Heathrow.

Also attached is AvGen’s HEMMS (Heathrow Environmental Metric Monitoring System) report for 2018 Q1, showing the airlines’ relative rankings for each of the 7 metrics and the corrected Fly Quiet & Green points values.

Dave Reid
AvGen Limited
Reading, UK

http://www.avgen.co.uk/AvGen2/?page=Home-4

 


The good, the bad and the noisy: Heathrow reveals its greenest and quietest airlines

16.5.2018

International Airport Review

The latest league table rated the performance of the top 50 busiest airlines on seven noise and emission metrics from January to March 2018.

London Heathrow Airport has published a list ranking its airlines by their green and conscientious practices for the first quarter of the year.

LOT Polish Airlines proved to be the success story of Heathrow’s Fly Quiet and Green Programme, having completely transformed its noise and emissions performance – from last place in the first league rankings in 2013 to second place in the latest results. Scandinavian Airlines leapt into the top spot from fifth in the last quarter. Aer Lingus came in third, Etihad in fourth and Flybe was the new fifth place. British Airways short haul came in sixth.

Down at the bottom end of the table, Egypt Air short haul came last with the lowest score in noise quota per seat, chapter number and track keeping violations. It replaced Kuwait Airlines which has now risen to second last, beneath Turkish Airlines short haul and Israels El Al.

AWARDS 2018: SUBMISSIONS ARE NOW OPEN!

These awards, designed for airports and suppliers alike, recognise the significant impact best practice and innovative solutions can have on improving the operations of an Airport. Deadline to submit your entry is 21 June.

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Matt Gorman, Heathrow’s Director of Sustainability said: “As the first initiative of its kind in Europe, it was hard to estimate the impact the ‘Fly Quiet and Green’ league table would have when it was first launched.  LOT Polish Airline’s story, however, shows the results that can be achieved by working productively with our airline partners to encourage them to use quieter technology and operating procedures for the benefit of our local neighbours.

“We know there is always more we can do to reduce our noise impacts, and we have set some ambitious targets in our new Noise Action Plan. We encourage all of our local neighbours to give us their feedback on this plan, and help us shape the way we manage noise in the future.”

The seven metrics were:

  • Noise quota per seat – a relative noise “efficiency” metric which scores the noise efficiency of an operator’s fleet, recognising that whilst larger aircraft tend to be noisier they also carry more passengers (BestBritish Airways short haul, WorstEgypt Airshort haul)
  • Chapter number (noise certification) – each individual aircraft’s noise certificate against ICAO’s standards or ‘Chapters’ (BestFlyBeWorst: Egypt Air)
  • NOx emissions per seat (BestBritish Airways short haul, Worst:Korean Air)
  • CAEP standard (engine emissions certification) – each engine’s emissions against engine against the emissions standards produced and published by the ICAO’s Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection (Best: Qantas Airways/Air India/FlybeWorstBritish Airways long haul)
  • Continuous Descent Approach (CDA) violations – CDA involves arriving aircraft maintaining a steady angle of approach during the descent towards the airport, as opposed to a stepped approach which involves periods of prolonged level flight (BestDelta AirlinesWorstPakistan International Airlines)
  • Track keeping (TK) violations – the number of times aircraft deviated from the corridors of ‘noise preferential routes’ (NPRs) – 3km-wide corridors in the sky, designated by the Government to route aircraft away from more densely populated areas as far as possible – until they reach 4000ft above mean sea level (BestAlitalia/TAP Portugal/Finnair/Aer LingusWorstEgypt Air)
  • Early or late movements between 23:30 and 04:30 (Best: many airlines didn’t run flights between these hours at all, WorstMalaysia Airlines)

https://www.internationalairportreview.com/news/69291/heathrow-greenest-quietest-airlines

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Noise pollution is one of the biggest health risks – often given insufficient attention – in city life

Research indicates that noise is one of the biggest pollutants in modern cities but the risk is often overlooked despite being linked to an increased risk of early death. “Noise produces a stimulus to the central nervous system and this stimulus releases some hormones,” said Dr David Rojas from the Barcelona Institute for Global Health in Spain. ‘(This) increases the risk of hypertension, and hypertension has been related with many other cardiovascular (and) cerebrovascular diseases like infarction (heart attacks) and strokes.’ Dr Rojas, an environmental health researcher, says that despite the fact that noise pollution is a major public health problem in cities – and, in fact, beats air pollution as a risk factor in Barcelona – there is a tendency to overlook the problem because we can tune it out.  “When we have a background noise, the brain has the capacity to adapt to this noise, and you don’t see it as an annoyance so much and you start to accept and adapt. But even if you are not conscious of the noise, this is still stimulating your organic system.”  …”When you are in the city, we are not exposed to a single pollutant, we are exposed to a mix of things”… (air pollution, noise, the absence of green spaces and plants). 
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Noise pollution is one of the biggest health risks in city life

24 May 2018 (Horizon Magazine – European Commission)

Noise is one of the biggest pollutants in modern cities but the risk is often overlooked despite being linked to an increased risk of early death, according to research conducted by scientists.

‘Noise produces a stimulus to the central nervous system and this stimulus releases some hormones,’ said Dr David Rojas from the Barcelona Institute for Global Health in Spain. ‘(This) increases the risk of hypertension, and hypertension has been related with many other cardiovascular (and) cerebrovascular diseases like infarction (heart attacks) and strokes.’

He was speaking in Brussels, Belgium, on 23 May at the annual Green Week conference, part of a Europe-wide event to help people swap best practices on environmental activities and policies. This year’s focus is how the EU is helping cities to become better places to live and work.

Dr Rojas, an environmental health researcher, says that despite the fact that noise pollution is a major public health problem in cities – and, in fact, beats air pollution as a risk factor in Barcelona – there is a tendency to overlook the problem because we can tune it out.

‘When we have a background noise, the brain has the capacity to adapt to this noise,’ he said. ‘And you don’t see it as an annoyance so much and you start to accept and adapt. But even if you are not conscious of the noise, this is still stimulating your organic system.’

Dr Rojas’ research, which was carried out under the HELIX and PASTA projects, gathered data on the multiplicity of pollutants that we encounter in cities. He hopes the findings can be used to shape policies that could help improve health in urban areas.

For example, improving cycling infrastructure and encouraging parents to walk their children to school could not only cut noise and air pollution but would also improve levels of physical activity.

Multiple benefits

‘There are multiple benefits of good urban design,’ said Dr Rojas. ‘It’s not only air pollution or noise, it’s also physical activity, green spaces, (and) heat.’

As part of the HELIX project, Dr Rojas and his team measured the impact of encouraging all children who lived within 1 kilometre of a school to walk there each day. The result was a dramatic improvement in children’s health by reducing high blood pressure and obesity, as well as by avoiding a slew of minor road traffic injuries.

Their findings are also challenging the common misconceptions about whether the harm caused by air pollution counteracts the benefits of walking or cycling in cities. ‘The benefit is 70 times bigger than the risk,’ said Dr Rojas.

He added that while pregnant women and young children were particularly vulnerable to urban pollutants, the problem affects everybody, regardless of life stage, resulting in a large public health burden.

‘In the case of air pollution, even if we feel that we are not vulnerable – we are adults and we are healthy – we are suffering from this exposure. We are losing quality of life and quantity of life because we are exposed to these pollutants.’

The conference also heard about some of the nature-based innovations, such as urban greening, that are being adopted throughout Europe in order to improve the quality of city life.

Community gardens, living walls, and putting greenery in so-called grey spaces such as railway lines, are all examples of attempts to make urban areas more natural places to live and work, according to Dr Dora Almassy from the Central European University in Budapest, Hungary.

Nature-based solutions

She has helped to compile a database of nature-based solutions being used in towns and cities around Europe to produce an urban nature atlas as part of a project called Naturvation.

‘More than half of the projects (in the database) provided benefits for the health and wellbeing of the citizens,’ she said.

This is because they create a healthier working environment and provide space for more leisure and recreational activities. Spending time in green spaces has also been linked to improved mental health, while such projects can also be used for food production and education. But not all of the projects achieve the same benefits for those who use them.

‘Certain types of nature-based solutions are better placed to improve the health of the citizens,’ said Dr Almassy. ‘These are community gardens, parks, or simple green grey infrastructures and … green roofs and green facades.’

One example is Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool, UK, which is was designed to have green spaces inside and out, exposing the children being treated there to a more natural environment. The plants are also used to produce food, which is then supplied to the hospital canteen.

Dr Almassy said that many of these projects are reliant upon the public sector for funding and execution, so future research needs to look at business models that will encourage companies and individuals to contribute to a green urban environment.

Dr Rojas added that another big challenge for the future will be to combine the data on different environmental factors to produce models that can give far more comprehensive predictions for policy decisions.

‘When you are in the city, we are not exposed to a single pollutant, we are exposed to a mix of things,’ he said. ‘We need to think of how we can approach in a better way this complexity of exposure. The urban environment is more than a single thing.’

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The research in this article was funded by the EU. If you liked this article, please consider sharing it on social media.

https://horizon-magazine.eu/article/noise-pollution-one-biggest-health-risks-city-life_en.html

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Local campaign gets Glasgow airport to pay up to £8 million to sound insulate 800 badly affected homes

Glasgow Airport is to pay out up to £8m over the next 5 years to help with noise insulation costs for the 800 homes near its runway. The assistance packages, worth around £10,000 per home, will be used to help pay for triple glazing and loft insulation.  Recent studies showed aircraft noise levels experienced at night by residents in some areas exceeded substantially the safe levels approved by the World Health Organisation.  However they were deemed not high enough to allow properties to qualify for compensation. The airport’s owner, AGS Airports, has agreed to reduce the qualifying level for support to homes experiencing the noise, from 66 decibels to 63dB.  The effort to improve the situation, particularly in Whitecrook, Clydebank, where the worst levels were recorded, has been driven by a long running campaign by SNP MSP, Gil Paterson. Allegedly the insulation in the loft cut the noise level in a bedroom below to 50dB. when it had been 63dB, with the noise outside at 84dB. It is claimed that upgrading double glazing to triple glazing further cut the noise to 45dB (as long as no window opened ….. and still deafening in the garden ….)

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Glasgow Airport to aid noise reduction methods near its runway after campaign

13.5.2018   (Glasgow  Evening Times)

GLASGOW Airport is to pay out up to £8m over the next five years to help with noise insulation costs for the 800 homes near its runway.

The assistance packages, worth around £10,000 per home, will be used to help pay for triple glazing and loft insulation.

Recent studies showed aircraft noise levels experienced at night by residents in some areas exceeded substantially the safe levels approved by the World Health Organisation.

However they were deemed not high enough to allow properties to qualify for compensation.

The effort to improve the situation, particularly in Whitecrook, Clydebank, where the worst levels were recorded, has been driven by a long running campaign by SNP MSP, Gil Paterson.

Mr Paterson spent more than £3,000 of his own money into work carried out on one of his constituent’s homes, funding a triple-glazing unit and loft insulation.

Before the work was carried out, noise levels in the bedroom reached the new 63 decibels qualifying level.

The addition of loft insulation reduced the level to 50 decibels, and replacing double-glazing with triple-glazing further reduced the levels to 45 decibels.

A sound-check outside the house, however, recorded a noise of 84 decibels.

Mr Paterson said: “I thought this was incredibly important to improve the quality of life in a community that is one of the poorest in Scotland.

“It’s internationally recognised that sleep deprivation has a knock-on effect of additional ill health in communities.

“The risk of strokes, heart disease and cardiovascular disease is up to 30 per cent greater in higher noise areas.

He added: ‘Some of the houses are practically at the end of the runway.

He was assisted by sound engineer Ruben McLean, who gave his services for free to test noise levels.

Mr Paterson said: “I’m incredibly grateful to the couple that allowed me to use their home, to Ruben McLean for putting me right on everything to do with sound, and to the locals who supported our efforts.

“I also want to give AGS credit for reducing the noise level.”

http://www.eveningtimes.co.uk/news/16222460.Glasgow_Airport_to_aid_noise_reduction_methods_near_its_runway_after_campaign/?ref=twtrec

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Boss of Dubai Airports shows just how callous his industry is: wants Heathrow open 24/7 regardless of noise…

Heathrow and its airlines are extremely unwilling to get rid of night flights, regardless of how much health damage (and reduction in quality of life) they cause to people overflown. Now Paul Griffiths, chief executive of Dubai Airports, shows clearly just how little the industry cares about the welfare of residents, or the opinions of those negatively affected by his industry. Talking to the Independent, he asked: “Why is the UK persisting with all these restrictions on operating hours? …. imagine all that investment, all that amazing infrastructure sitting idle for a third of the day [which, of course, it is not – flights operate till after 11pm and start at 4.30am…] ” He seems to want people to believe that new “quieter” aircraft (only marginally less noisy than those now) will make all the difference …  He also wants Heathrow to work in “mixed mode” for both runways, to get the maximum number of flights.  The naked, uncaring, unreconstructed capitalism is stark.  MPs take note – this is the sort of man who runs airlines, and wants Heathrow to do their bidding, at the expense of Londoners etc. [Akbar Al Baker, Heathrow board member and CEO of Qatar Airways, did the same in 2014 – to Heathrow’s embarrassment…]

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Heathrow should open 24/7 – not build another runway, says Dubai airport boss

Paul Griffiths, chief executive of Dubai Airports, asks: ‘Why is the UK persisting with all these restrictions on operating hours?’

6.5.2018 (Independent)

The boss of the world’s busiest airport for international passengers has urged night-time restrictions at Heathrow to be abandoned.

Paul Griffiths, chief executive of Dubai Airports, has said new, quieter aircraft mean that the current rules on noise at Britain’s busiest airport are unnecessary.

He told The Independent: “Unlike Dubai, where we’re 24/7, the airports in the UK are closed for about a third of the day. So you imagine: all that investment, all that amazing infrastructure sitting idle for a third of the day.

“Aircraft technology and the environmental impact of them has been so drastically reduced over the past few decades by investment in new technologies.

“Why is the UK persisting with all these restrictions on operating hours?”

While Heathrow is technically open 24 hours, it has has some of the strictest limits of any hub airport in Europe, to reduce the noise nuisance for local residents.

Takeoffs and landings between 11.30pm and 6am are capped at 5,800 annually, an average of 16 per night. Noisier aircraft are banned entirely.

Around a dozen flights are scheduled to arrive each day between 4.30am and 6am, mainly from Africa, Asia and Australia.

The first departures of each day are scheduled for 6am: Austrian Airlines to Vienna, TAP Portugal to Lisbon and Swiss to Zurich. The last of the day is the 10.45pm Aeroflot flight to Moscow from Terminal 4 – although if delays build up there are sometimes later departures.

In April, the Transport Select Committee urged the government to consider a night-time ban of seven hours, longer than at present.

Mr Griffiths has been running Dubai Airports for 10 years. Prior to that he was chief executive at Gatwick, which is the UK’s second-busiest airport and has the most heavily used runway in the world.

He also urged “mixed mode” working to extract more capacity at Heathrow. At present the standard pattern is for one runway to be used only for departures, the other only for arrivals, until 3pm when the arrangement switches. The idea is to give some respite to local residents.

But using both for takeoffs and landings would enable more capacity to be unlocked.

The Dubai CEO said the impact would be minimal is if quiet, modern jets were used.

But John Stewart, chair of the Heathrow Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise (Hacan), the pressure group representing residents around the airport, said: “Night flights remain a huge concern local residents. In the foreseeable future new technology will not change that.”

The International Air Transport Association, representing airlines, has long opposed airport curfews, saying: “Night-time operating restrictions have a negative impact on airlines, passengers and local economies.”

Meanwhile a former project manager, John Busby, has told The Independent that the need for an additional runway could be negated by increasing the number of passengers on each aircraft.

“An increase in the average passenger numbers per flight from 150 in 2007 to 170 in 2016 and then to 255 will add the 50 per cent to its capacity anticipated with the runway,” he said.

https://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/heathrow-new-runway-third-curfew-24-hours-dubai-airports-paul-griffiths-residents-noise-a8338846.html

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And here is another of his ilk, wishing 24/7 misery on Londoners, to increase his airline profits. Sick …

Heathrow Airport Board member, Akbar Al Baker, says Heathrow should have 24 hour flights

One of the Board members of Heathrow Airport is Akbar Al Baker, who is the CEO of Qatar Airways and led the development of the new Doha airport. He is on the Board because Qatar Holdings bought a 20% stake in Heathrow in 2012. He has caused a storm of protest after claiming, with stunning insensitivity and demonstrating a woeful lack of understanding of British democracy, that Heathrow should have 24 hour flights – ignoring the well-being of those overflown. The benefit would be that his companies would be more profitable. Akbar Al Baker said Britons make an “excessive” fuss about noise levels from aircraft flying over their homes” and home owners living under flight paths “wouldn’t even hear the aircraft” after a while.” He appears  not to understand that in Europe, unpopular and damaging major developments cannot just be steamrollered through, as they perhaps can be in the Gulf States. Mr Al Baker thinks European airports should open 24 hours a day if they want to compete with the emerging Gulf hubs in Dubai and Doha.  Though rapidly denied by Heathrow, which distanced itself from  Mr Al Baker’s comments, it is indicative of a way of thought  which people may fear is prevalent on the Heathrow board.   

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2014/05/heathrow-airport-board-member-akbar-al-baker-says-heathrow-should-have-24-hour-flights/

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That had to be hurriedly defused and hushed up by the Heathrow Chairman:

Heathrow chairman, Sir Nigel Rudd, hushes hubbub over 24/7 airport comment by Heathrow board member

A Heathrow Airport Board member, Akbar Al Baker, recently said Heathrow should have 24 hour flights, planes should be allowed to fly all night, and that Brits make an “excessive” fuss about aircraft noise. This has hugely embarrassed Heathrow, which has been trying hard to claim a 50% increase in flights will result in less noise … square that one.  Now, in response to the awkward and off-message remarks by Al Baker, Sir Nigel Rudd, chairman of Heathrow, said: “Mr Al-Baker’s views are his own and do not represent the views or policy of the Heathrow board or executive committee. We recognise that adding the flights Britain needs for growth must come hand in hand with reducing aircraft noise for residents. Round the clock flying from London is not an option. We take the concerns of local communities very seriously and have never argued for 24-hour flying.” Anti expansion campaigners were highly critical of the airport, and its need to urgently rush out reassuring comments due to the embarrassment caused by Mr Al-Baker putting his foot in it. Question is why Mr Al Baker was not aware that this, though revealing, was not a helpful or acceptable comment to make, from Heathrow’s point of view.   

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2014/05/heathrow-chairman-sir-nigel-rudd-hushes-hubbub-over-247-airport-comment-by-heathrow-board-member/

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Heathrow ownership

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heathrow_Airport_Holdings#Ownership

Owner Shares[19]
Ferrovial 25%
Qatar Holding 20%
Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec 12.62%
Government of Singapore Investment Corporation 11.20%
Alinda Capital Partners 11.18%
China Investment Corporation 10%
Universities Superannuation Scheme 10%

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German study shows link between aircraft noise (day or night) and atrial fibrillation

With an increasing level of noise, the incidence of atrial fibrillation also increases dramatically. From a study of 15,000 men and women aged 35 to 74 in Germany, scientists found that the incidence of atrial fibrillation in subjects who reacted to noise with extreme annoyance increased to 23%, compared to 15% without the noise. Looking at the proportion of sources of extreme noise pollution, aircraft noise came first with 84% during the day and 69% during sleep. The results were published recently in the International Journal of Cardiology. Other studies have shown the link between noise (that may be causing anger, disturbed sleep, exhaustion or stress) that impairs wellbeing, health (including cardiovascular disease), and the quality of life. There is probably a link between cardiac impacts and noise, even when the person is not aware of being made irritated or angry by the noise. The increase in atrial fibrillation may be the reason why there is a connection between noise and strokes. The ban in night flights at Frankfurt from 11pm to 5am did not lead to less noise annoyance, but more – as the overall number of flights did not reduce. Noise was worse than before between 10-11pm and 5-6am.
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Noise throws the heart out of rhythm

May 3, 2018
Source:  Johannes Gutenberg Universitaet Mainz
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Summary:

With an increasing level of noise, the incidence of atrial fibrillation also increases dramatically. Scientists found that the incidence of atrial fibrillation in subjects with extreme noise annoyance reactions increases to 23 percent, compared to just 15 percent without this environmental impact. Looking at the proportion of sources of extreme noise pollution, aircraft noise came first with 84 percent during the day and 69 percent during sleep.

FULL STORY

With an increasing level of noise, the incidence of atrial fibrillation also increases dramatically. Scientists from the Department of Cardiology at the Mainz University Medical Center were able to prove this with data from the Gutenberg Health Study. They found that the incidence of atrial fibrillation in subjects with extreme noise annoyance reactions increases to 23 percent, compared to just 15 percent without this environmental impact. Looking at the proportion of sources of extreme noise pollution, aircraft noise came first with 84 percent during the day and 69 percent during sleep. These results from the Gutenberg Health Study were published recently in the International Journal of Cardiology.

Noise annoyance is a very important indicator in order to decide which noise levels may be considered significant or unacceptable and may be even harmful for our health. Anger, disturbed sleep, exhaustion, and stress symptoms due to noise permanently impair wellbeing, health, and the quality of life. “We have already been able to prove the connection between noise and vascular disease in several studies in healthy volunteers and patients with established coronary artery disease as well as in in preclinical studies. To date, there has been no explicit study being published which addresses to what extent noise annoyance can cause cardiac arrhythmia,” emphasized Professor Thomas Münzel, Director of Cardiology I at the Department of Cardiology at the Mainz University Medical Center and senior author of the study.

The effects of noise pollution have been a subject of research within the framework of the Gutenberg Health Study (GHS). The GHS is one of the world’s largest studies of its kind, including more than 15,000 men and women aged 35 to 74 from the state capital of Rhineland-Palatinate and the district of Mainz-Bingen.

The researchers investigated the relationship between different noise sources during the day and at night during sleep and the most common arrhythmia in the general population, i.e., atrial fibrillation. The study found that increasing annoyance is associated with a significant increase in the frequency of atrial fibrillation. This grew up to 23 percent in subjects experiencing extreme noise annoyance, while only 15 percent experienced no noise annoyance at all. In this context, it has been shown that aircraft noise accounts for the largest share of extreme noise pollution: 84 percent during the day and 69 percent during sleep. The aircraft noise annoyance affected 60 percent of the population, more than every second in the Mainz-Bingen region. Thus, it clearly outperformed other noise sources such as road, rail, or neighborhood noise.

“The study shows for the first time that noise annoyance caused by various noise sources during the day and night is associated with an increased risk of atrial fibrillation,” concluded study leader Omar Hahad, research associate at the Deparment Cardiology, Cardiology I. “Overall, we were able to demonstrate a stronger influence of annoyance caused by nocturnal noise on the heart rhythm.”

The study leaders, however, point out that noise annoyance was measured, not physical noise. Since this is a cross-sectional study, no statements can be made with respect to a causal relationship.

Participants in the GHS study were asked to rate how much they had been harassed in recent years by road, rail, construction, trade, neighborhood noise and aircraft noise, both day and night. Noise annoyance was recorded using internationally accepted, standardized questionnaires. Atrial fibrillation was diagnosed on the basis of the medical history (anamnestic) and / or on the study ECG.

“The relationship between noise annoyance and atrial fibrillation is an important finding that may also explain why noise can lead to more strokes. However, one must not forget that noise also leads to damage to health without the need for an anger reaction,” said Professor Thomas Münzel.

In addition, the impact of the night-time ban introduced by Frankfurt am Main airport (11 p.m. to 5 a.m.) in October 2011 on the aircraft noise reported by the participants was examined. “Interestingly, there was a significant increase in aircraft noise after the introduction of the no-fly ban, both during the day and at night,” commented Münzel. “This could be due to the fact that in spite of the ban on night flights altogether the number of flight movements has not decreased and the flight movements have been concentrated more in the marginal hours of 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. to 6 a.m.” The authors conclude that, for example, the total ban on scheduled aircraft movements at the Frankfurt Airport has to be expanded from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., in accordance with the definition of nighttime in Germany.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/05/180503101709.htm

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IATA claims Heathrow night flight ban would ‘damage’ UK economy – meaning a proper night ban is unlikely with a 3rd runway

Heathrow has always been very resistant to any effective ban on night flights, other than for a brief period in the middle of the night – it has never supported a period long enough to enable those overflown to get 7 or 8 hours of quiet in order to have a peaceful full night’s sleep. Now the aviation industry global trade lobby, IATA says a “total ban on night flights at ­Heathrow would “seriously damage” the UK’s economic competitiveness by hitting important export industries and regional growth.” IATA does not want any impediment to air cargo, which increasingly relies on overnight delivery, or reduced connecting flights that are used by some business passengers. The DfT currently allows Heathrow 5,800 flights per year between 11.30pm and 6am – about 16 per night on average. These flights are deeply unpopular, especially those touching down from 4.30am, heard over much of London up to 20 minutes earlier. The idea that flights could be rotated, at night, between three runways, is being used to try to persuade people that night flights should be permitted. Rotating flights between runways would NOT provide the quiet 7 – 8 hour period needed, for tens or hundreds of thousands overflown by Heathrow planes.
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Heathrow night flight ban would ‘damage’ UK economy, major trade body IATA claims

By Bradley Gerrard (Telegraph)
29 APRIL 2018

A total ban on night flights at ­Heathrow would “seriously damage” the UK’s economic competitiveness by hitting important export industries and regional growth, a major aviation body has warned.

The Airports Commission is proposing a six and a half hour total ban on flights at Heathrow, that the International Air Transport Association (Iata) fears would hamper air cargo, which increasingly relies on overnight delivery, and reduce connecting flights of use to business passengers.

At present overnight flights are allowed, but subject to a strict quota managed by the Department for Transport. The airport is currently restricted to 5,800 take-offs and landings a year between 11:30pm and 6am compared to its 1,300 daily scheduled flights.

“Just-in-time manufacturing processes, lack of consumer patience to wait for goods, and time and temperature sensitive shipments such as pharmaceuticals and fresh produce, mean air cargo is a crucial link in the transport chain,” Iata, which represents the world’s 278 airlines, said. “Late night departures are important for UK business, facilitating these vital cargo exports.”

In terms of connectivity to UK regions, Iata said early morning arrivals were “vital for passengers’ business connections into London and the UK regions”. “Early morning arrivals are particularly important for onward connections for same-day appointments and meetings, or for rapid freight delivery,” it said.

Alexandre de Juniac, Iata’s director-general, said a ban would create an “enormous restraint” on passenger and cargo flights. “When you make projections into the future, you see that restricting the number of arrival and departure hours will be a significant restraint on long-haul destinations such as Asia,” he said.

“This is bad because traffic will only increase from Asia and the relationship between Heathrow and Asia should be increasing significantly.” Mr de Juniac said he appreciated local communities would be concerned about noise and pollution but that Heathrow was already well behind its rivals in Europe and risked falling further back if a total night ban was implemented.

“Heathrow is already at a competitive disadvantage compared to key hub airports in Europe in terms of aircraft movements in this time period,” Mr de Juniac said.

“Heathrow has 42 arrivals and no departures and has fewer flights than Amsterdam, Paris Charles de Gaulle, Munich or Frankfurt. Madrid has an incredible ten times the number of flights.”

Mr de Juniac added that with a third runway, night flights could be rotated between runways to reduce the impact on nearby communities.

The expansion of Heathrow is being debated by MPs now after the transport committee warned in March the airport risked losing a legal challenge against its third runway unless it met a raft of tough conditions on landing charges, pollution and public transport.

The airport recently finished its 10-week consultation on plans for the expansion in which night flights will have been a crucial issue for communities under the flight path.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2018/04/29/heathrow-night-flight-ban-would-damage-uk-economy-major-trade/

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Heathrow airport itself would probably be happy not to have night flights, (if it did not thereby lose any money) as it would reduce the massive opposition there is to them, and to the noise made by planes using Heathrow in general. However, the airlines will not support any effective ban on night flights, and Heathrow makes money from the airlines operating them.  


See earlier:

 

DfT confirms numbers of night flights – till 2022 – at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted will not be cut

Changes to the night flights regime, at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted have been delayed for several years. The DfT has now produced its Decision Document on the issue. Anyone expecting meaningful cuts in night flights, or noise from night flights will be disappointed. There is no change in numbers, and just some tinkering with noise categories.  The DfT says night flights from Heathrow will continue until (if) the airport is expanded, and it just hopes airlines will be using slightly less noisy planes. Pretty much, effectively, “business as usual.” Chris Grayling, Transport Secretary, said he had to “strike a balance between the economic benefits of flying and the impact on local residents.” The DfT objective is to: “encourage the use of quieter aircraft to limit or reduce the number of people significantly affected by aircraft noise at night, while maintaining the existing benefits of night flights”. But it says: “Many industry responses welcomed the recognition by government of the benefits night flights offer and highlighted the importance of night flights to the business models of airlines, for instance by allowing low-cost airlines to operate the necessary minimum amount of rotations a day, or the benefits to the time-sensitive freight sector through enabling next day deliveries. ”    

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2017/07/dft-confirms-numbers-of-night-flights-till-2022-at-heathrow-and-gatwick-will-not-be-cut/

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15. The rules for next regime are summarised in the table below.

….. and it goes on …..

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/627890/night-flight-restrictions-at-heathrow-gatwick-and-stansted-decision-document.pdf

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Stop Stansted Expansion raises night flights and ‘noise nightmare’ concerns over airport’s expansion plans

Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) says the airport wants to change conditions which have prevented it from lobbying government for more night flights. The plans were “buried” within its planning application to expand its annual throughput of passengers from 35 million to up to 43m. It claimed it was “a clandestine attempt to betray the community”, as it raised concerns about sleep disturbance and adverse health impacts caused by night flights. “For years SSE has been calling for tougher controls to bear down on the impacts night flights have on sleep disturbance and the quality of life and wellbeing of people across the region,” said SSE noise adviser Martin Peachey. “Stansted is already allowed more than twice as many night flights as Heathrow, and night flights are set to be completely banned at Heathrow within the next 10 years as a condition of expansion.” The airport says it is not seeking any change to current night flight limits, [as the limit is already set above current usage.]  SSE are also concerned that the long haul and freight aircraft which airport owners Manchester Airports Group (MAG) is hoping to attract to Stansted are “typically larger and noisier than most aircraft types currently based there” and with less stringent night noise controls, these could become a serious noise problem for local residents.
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Campaigners raise night flights and ‘noise nightmare’ concerns over Stansted expansion plans

17 April 2018

By Sarah Chambers (EADT)

The owners of Stansted Airport have stressed that they are not seeking any change to current night flight limits at the site, after campaigners claimed they were trying to overturn the current legal conditions.

Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) claims the airport wants to change conditions which have prevented it from lobbying government for more night flights.

But the group said the plans were “buried” within its planning application to expand its annual throughput of passengers to up to 43m.

It claimed it was “a clandestine attempt to betray the community”, as it raised concerns about sleep disturbance and adverse health impacts caused by night flights.

“For years SSE has been calling for tougher controls to bear down on the impacts night flights have on sleep disturbance and the quality of life and wellbeing of people across the region,” said SSE noise adviser Martin Peachey.

“Stansted is already allowed more than twice as many night flights as Heathrow, and night flights are set to be completely banned at Heathrow within the next 10 years as a condition of expansion.”

But an airport spokesman said: “We recognise that night flights are a sensitive issue for local residents and our application does not seek any change to the current night flight limits at Stansted.

“These flights are regulated separately by central government with the current controls applying until 2022.

“Night flights are a small but important part of our operation with both passenger airlines and cargo operators attaching a high value to the ability to operate at night.

“Stansted has grown in a measured and environmentally sustainable way and the introduction of the latest generation of quieter, more efficient aircraft will ensure that we continue to minimise aircraft noise.”

Campaigners are also concerned that the long haul and freight aircraft which airport owners Manchester Airports Group (MAG) is hoping to attract to Stansted are “typically larger and noisier than most aircraft types currently based there”. and that they would also exacerbate problems with noise disturbance suffered. “If MAG succeeded in having the present restrictions on night flights relaxed, the floodgates could rapidly open to a noise nightmare,” they claimed.

http://www.eadt.co.uk/business/campaigners-raise-night-flights-and-noise-nightmare-noise-concerns-over-stansted-expansion-plans-1-5479923

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See also

Stansted Airport expansion plans will ‘ambush local communities and residents,’ according to Uttlesford Liberal Democrats

Uttlesford Liberal Democrats say that Stansted Airport is seeking to ‘ambush local communities and residents’ with its plans to become the UK’s 2nd biggest airport. They say the submitted planning application is “unravelling under the pressure of public scrutiny” and Stansted is not being ‘open’ with local residents. Thaxted Councillor Martin Foley said public opinion is not being taken into account, nor is there enough consideration in regards to the additional traffic following the expansion, branding plans too “simplistic”. The airport is “not being open and transparent in their application to expand its capacity to 43+ million passengers per annum.” …“Firstly, they have buried their demand for the removal of current restrictions on night flights at Stansted in an appendix to their main application.” Public consultation events have not been properly promoted, and the airport’s “assessment of the impact of the additional traffic generated by the expansion is simplistic and rudimentary.” Implausibly, the airport’s CEO tries to make out there will be a lower noise impact, even with 8 million more annual passengers (35 million up to 43 million).

Click here to view full story…

 

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AEF comment on the DfT’s Aviation Strategy – environmental impacts must be central to policy, not an add-on

The AEF (Aviation Environment Federation) has commented on the Government’s Aviation Strategy, produced on 7th. They say that while the UK aspires “to be a world leader in aviation when it comes to facilities and services, the same cannot be said for environmental protection, at least when it comes to climate change. A world-class package of environmental protection doesn’t currently seem to be on the agenda.” They say “The Aviation Strategy objectives should include an environmental objective that is not wrapped up in a commitment to growth, and the implications of this objective should be considered from the start.” AEF reiterate that aviation’s “unlimited growth is incompatible with achieving environmental commitments” and the DfT is not even questioning whether aviation growth was a positive outcome to aim for. Instead of the 3 separate consultations on aspects of UK aviation policy over the next 18 months, (with environment at the end) there will be a single Green Paper this autumn. The AEF hopes this allows for environmental impacts to be considered throughout the period of policy development and not as an afterthought (as it originally appeared). The DfT policy is focused on airline passengers and improving the service to them, but it should instead be in the interest of the whole population, including those affected by airports and aircraft.
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Government publishes its ‘next steps’ towards an aviation strategy

13.4.2018 (Aviation Environment Federation)

On Saturday 7thApril the Government published the outcome of its call for evidence on the Aviation Strategy ‘Beyond the Horizon’. It’s not a particularly inspiring read in terms of environmental ambition. While the Government aspires for the UK to be a world leader in aviation when it comes to facilities and services, the same cannot be said for environmental protection, at least when it comes to climate change. A world-class package of environmental protection doesn’t currently seem to be on the agenda.

But the document does at least put many of the right issues on the table (including some, such as aviation’s non-CO2 impacts, that have long been neglected) and we plan to engage actively with the Government and others on the environmental aspects of the strategy between now and publication of the Green Paper. We’ve taken a look back at five points we argued in our response to the call for evidence, looked for evidence in the outcome document of any changes in the Government’s position on these, and set out what we’ll be calling for as the policy develops.

  1. We said: The Aviation Strategy objectives should include an environmental objective that is not wrapped up in a commitment to growth, and the implications of this objective should be considered from the start

In our response to the call for evidence, we highlighted evidence that unlimited growth is incompatible with achieving environmental commitments, and that these objectives could not properly be dealt with together.

The outcome document notes that “Environment and community groups felt that the document gave insufficient prominence to carbon emissions and downplayed other environmental impacts as secondary to supporting growth, without questioning whether growth was a positive outcome to aim for.”

Nevertheless the Government plans to stick with its original wording for the objective to “support growth while tackling environmental impacts” with the justification that “the interdependencies of these issues has confirmed the Government’s view that they should all be addressed together as part of a single objective in the aviation strategy”.

Meanwhile, the plan to run three separate consultations over the next 18 months, with environment at the end, has been replaced by a proposal for a single Green Paper this autumn. We hope that this allows for environmental impacts to be considered throughout the period of policy development and not as an afterthought (as it originally appeared).

What we’ll be arguing for in the Green Paper

We’ll continue to present evidence for the need to keep environmental impacts within acceptable limits, whether or not they align with industry and government aspirations for growth.

  1. We said: The commitment to put consumer interests at the centre of the strategy could prevent effective policy-making

The aviation strategy will be strongly consumer-focused and market-driven, the call for evidence had specified. We argued that government policy on aviation, including on its environmental impacts, should be in the interest of the whole population, not just consumers, including the half who don’t take a single flight in any given year.

The ‘market-driven’ language is less evident in the outcome document, but the consumer focus remains clear. In particular, the document makes clear that action on environment, and investment in new technologies, will be considered only if that’s not too costly for consumers and the industry. UK action on climate change could, for example, put our airlines at a competitive disadvantage and increase fares for passengers, the document argues, while the possibility of noise reduction will be considered “in the context of airport growth”. The possibility that environmental objectives should be met even if they conflict with direct passenger interests is not addressed.

What we’ll be arguing for in the Green Paper

AEF will continue to make the case that the Government won’t be able to meet its own aim of a sustainable aviation sector if its key test for all policy decisions is focused narrowly on serving direct consumer interests, and that Government policy should focus on the wider public interest.

  1. We said: Heathrow expansion should not be decided till the strategy is in place

It makes no sense, we argued, for expansion of the UK’s biggest, noisiest airport (in terms of the number of people affected), and its biggest single source of CO2 emissions from any sector, to take place in the absence of national policy on environmental impacts. The outcome document has not acknowledged any concern about this issue.

Meanwhile some airports, such as Luton, have set out expansion plans that are large enough in scale to fall under the NPS process (the one being used for Heathrow expansion). It’s unclear at present how the Government plans to treat such applications – whether it would amend the current Airports NPS (which deals only with Heathrow) or draft new legislation.

What we’ll be arguing for in the Green Paper

Heathrow expansion is not yet a done deal and we’ll continue to argue that MPs should vote against the National Policy Statement in the absence of convincing evidence that it can and will be compatible with meaningful environmental limits. These limits should be set out or reflected in the Aviation Strategy, to ensure a common baseline for all UK airports, and to allow the impact of UK aviation as a whole to be considered.

  1. We said: The proposal to take action to support airports where there is urgent need for growth, in advance of the strategy being finalised, is either meaningless, or a cause for concern

The call for evidence had an odd section on ‘Making Best Use of Existing Capacity’ that noted likely demand among airports to increase passenger throughput and argued that “Due to the recent rise in growth, the Government believes that this issue cannot wait until the publication of a new Aviation Strategy.”

We said that it was unclear what the proposal was, since applications would still need to go through the planning process and the Government doesn’t typically stand in the way. We would nevertheless strongly oppose, we said, a policy whereby these authorities were encouraged to approve any applications for growth in the absence of strategic guidance from Government on how to assess environmental impacts.

The outcomes document doesn’t shed any light, that we can see, on this issue. Some airports have been hoping that the strategy will include specific policy support for expansion at particular airports or in particular regions. There’s no evidence so far that the Government plans to get involved in this level of detail.

What we’ll be arguing for in the Green Paper

Airport development decisions taken at the local level should be guided by a strong policy framework on environmental impacts, which provides a common baseline, and takes into account cumulative impacts, where relevant, from more than one airport.

  1. We said: The proposed ‘policy tests’, including that policy should be evidence-led, should be rigorously implemented

The Call for Evidence proposed that the Government’s approach to developing the strategy would be guided by a set of policy tests:

  • What is the rationale for action?
  • What is Government’s role?
  • What does the evidence say?
  • Have all of the options been considered?
  • What is the effectiveness of any proposed action?

We said that we fully supported the application of these tests. There is no mention of them, however, in the outcome document.

What we’ll be arguing for in the Green Paper

We’ll be making the case for effective, evidence-led government action on aviation’s environmental impacts, focusing on areas where the market won’t deliver what’s needed unless the Government gives the right policy steer.    

https://www.aef.org.uk/2018/04/13/government-publishes-its-next-steps-towards-an-aviation-strategy/

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