Letter to Airports Commission

Date published: 
05 September 2013

Our Environment Committee has highlighted to the Airports Commission the impact of noise from aircraft on thousands of people and the need for a third party to help reduce antagonism in the relationship between communities and airports.

Figures show 725,500 people are affected by noise from Heathrow airport - three times as many as any other European airport. The Assembly’s Environment Committee has told Sir Howard Davies, the head of the Airports Commission how the greatest impacts are on sleep disturbance from early morning and night flights and on some schools under flight paths, where children’s learning can be severely disrupted.

Responding to an Airport Commission discussion paper on noise, the Committee calls for the human impacts of airport noise to be fully considered, including reflecting how some Londoners are disturbed by both Heathrow and City Airport. It is concerned about how noise effects are quantified, with the current Civil Aviation Authority’s approach only partly reflecting the available evidence. It also suggests an alternative noise measurement be used to more effectively reflect the impact on people and to trigger compensation.

The Committee suggests there is a need to simplify the regulatory environment and says any aviation strategy needs to consider the wider context of UK requirements to cut carbon emissions and areas around Heathrow persistently breach limits on air pollution.

The Committee states that if more people are to fly to and from the south east, the capacity should be at airports with the lowest impacts per extra passenger. It therefore concludes that noise and other environmental factors should swing the discussion on airport capacity away from expanding Heathrow.

Read the full letter below.