Skip to main content

Military Airfields (Noise Compensation)

Volume 86: debated on Thursday 14 November 1985

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether the review of noise compensation policy in respect of military airfields is complete; and if he will make a statement.

The review of the policy of the Ministry of defence for providing sound insulation grants and compensation for noise in the vicinity of military airfields has been completed. The Government recognise that unwelcome environmenal noise is a problem that merits serious and special attention. Aircraft noise can be particularly intrusive, and military airfields pose special problems in this respect because of the type of engines used in modern combat aircraft. The review has highlighted areas where improvements can be made in the current arrangements for compensating people most affected by this noise and my noble Friend the Minister of State for Defence has now approved the introduction of policy changes to give effect to these improvements. The main changes are as follows:

  • (a) At present it is a condition of introducing a noise insulation grant scheme that there shall have been specific new public works undertaken since 1969 as defined in section 9(b) of the Land Compensation Act 1973 and that these will have resulted in an increase in noise. This condition will now be dropped, and in future all schemes will be introduced on the sole criterion of the amount of noise experienced in the area.
  • (b) The qualifying noise level for introducing a noise insulation grant scheme will be reduced from 75 to 70dB LAeq 12 hours, and will be applied both to new and existing schemes.
  • (c) Where a significant amount of night flying takes place (over 20 movements regularly), special account will be taken of maximum noise levels. In such cases the boundary of a scheme will additionally include dwellings subject to recurring maximum noise levels of 82dBA or greater.
  • (d) Where the size of a scheme warrants it, bulk contract methods of providing acoustic secondary double glazing to the approved standard will be used in place of individual grants to householders. This will avoid the need for householders to arrange individual contracts and result in overall savings.
  • (e) Sound insulation of a comparable standard will be provided for Service accommodation subject to similar noise levels.
  • These changes will be introduced progressively as soon as the necessary noise measurement surveys have been carried out and resources permit. Estimates are that in due course some 7,000 private dwellings near to the noisier airfields might qualify for insulation.The review also concluded that the most cost-effective means of sound attenuation for normal dwellings is secondary double glazing, and that other measures, such as roof insulation, are likely to have practical installation difficulties, be expensive and would not contribute substantially to reducing internal noise levels. Although this aspect will be kept under review, the basis of Government assistance at military airfields will remain the provision of window insulation.Finally, my noble Friend the Minister of State for Defence has also approved the establishment in the Ministry of Defence of a new post of environmental noise officer whose responsibilities will include the co-ordination of all efforts within MOD and the Services to reduce the effects of noise on the community, the promotion of research and liaison with other bodies, including universities, other Government agencies and local authorities. The person appointed, at a suitable senior level and with appropriate technical qualifications, will contribute directly to policy formulation and be expected to keep in close touch with local communities about noise levels.I am confident that this measure, together with the policy changes announced here, will result in improvements to the noise climate around military airfields.