World Health Organisation aircraft noise limits

MQT on 2018-11-22
Session date: 
November 22, 2018
Question By: 
Caroline Russell
City Hall Greens
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


For average aviation noise exposure, the recently published World Health Organisation (WHO) report, Environmental Noise Guidelines for the European Region, strongly recommends: "reducing noise levels produced by aircraft below 45 dB Lden, as aircraft noise above this level is associated with adverse health effects."  Your London Environment Strategy refers to aviation noise contours in excess of 55dB, but will you include the new WHO guideline limits in your legal case against a third runway at Heathrow?


World Health Organisation aircraft noise limits

World Health Organisation aircraft noise limits

Answered By: 
The Mayor

I welcome publication by the World Health Organisation (WHO) Europe of its updated guidelines for environmental noise on 10 October 2018. The report highlights the growing evidence linking significant aircraft noise exposure to serious health conditions including heart attacks and strokes and recommends stringent noise limits for aviation as a result.


It would not be possible to challenge the Government’s National Policy Statement (NPS) on the basis of the updated WHO guidelines as they were not available at the time the NPS was published. However, noise remains an important element of my legal challenge of the NPS and I am making the case that the NPS failed to take proper account of existing noise regulations at both EU and national level and to fully assess the impacts on local communities.


I understand that the Government is in the process of developing a new national aviation strategy. I will be pressing Government to ensure that the new strategy incorporates the WHO guideline limits and establishes an effective independent regulator with the power to monitor compliance and impose penalties where required.