No compensation over Newcastle Airport noise

4.7.2009   (The Journal)

by Ben Guy

LEVELS of noise pollution caused by the region’s biggest airport are today revealed
for the first time.

Hundreds of people living near to Newcastle International are caused “significant
annoyance” by aircraft flying in and out of the region on a daily basis.

But none of them are entitled to compensation or special insulation in their
homes because the noise levels are not quite high enough for them to qualify.

The airport has prepared its first ever Noise Action Plan, in which it maps out the areas worst hit by the sound of passing planes and
outlines what work is being done to reduce the impact.

As the document goes out to public consultation, Newcastle International chiefs said the airport is one of the least noise polluting
in the UK.

Head of planning and corporate affairs Graeme Mason said:    “We are very fortunate
the level of noise impact associated with Newcastle Airport is not as great as
experienced at other airports.

“We have worked tirelessly over the last 15 years to make sure that continues
by managing the noise environment and making ongoing continuous improvements to
operational procedures, such as flight tracks, and specific policies for things
like light aircraft and helicopters to make sure the impact is minimised.

“We also have noise monitors in the local community to gauge how successful we
are being with those measures.”

Under the European Union’s Environmental Noise Directive, Newcastle International is required to produce a series of noise maps to detail
which areas are affected by passing aircraft.

The Government requires all airport operators to offer households subjected to
high levels of noise – 69 decibels or more – assistance with the cost of relocating.

Similarly, the Action Plan states:  “Acoustic installation must be offered to
noise sensitive buildings such as schools, hospitals and residential properties
exposed to 63 decibels or more.”

There are no homes exposed to either of these levels in the areas surrounding
Newcastle International, with flight paths carefully planned to minimise disruption.

However, the Government states 57 decibels is the degree of daytime noise that marks “the onset of significant community
annoyance” and the Action Plan reveals there are pockets of people living in neighbourhoods
that experience levels of more than 60 decibels.    It states that over the course of a 24 hour period, an estimated 700 dwellings occupied by 1,400
people are affected
in areas such as Hazelrigg, Heddon on the Wall and Darras Hall.

Average noise levels vary during the course of the day, depending on the number
of flights during that period.     The report states that between 7am-7pm there
are 46 departures and 41 arrivals, with 900 household – and 1,800 people – experiencing
sounds over the 57 decibel threshold.

Between 7-11pm, there are five departures and 14 arrivals, with 800 dwellings
affected by these levels and 850 around 50 affected between 11pm-7am, when there
are 14 departures and 10 arrivals.

A number of measures are taken to mitigate the impact of noise on surrounding

The consultation period will end on October 21 and the final Noise Action Plan will be submitted to the Secretary of State
by November 30.     It will be reviewed every five years.

David Laws, chief executive of Newcastle International, said: “We welcome the
opportunity to produce a Noise Action Plan. This will further allow the company
to demonstrate the environmental work we are doing and identify new challenges,
to ensure continual improvement.”

link to article


The consultation documents are on  the airport website at:
Newcastle Airport Noise Action Plan