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Aircraft Noise

Volume 404: debated on Tuesday 6 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the health risks associated with the impact of aircraft noise on people; and how many people he estimates have had their health affected by aircraft noise in the South East of England region. [111138]

Available evidence suggests that aircraft noise, either at current levels or at the far higher levels experienced in the 1970s around Heathrow, has no detectable direct effect on the physical health of communities near airports. However, health may be interpreted more widely to encompass impacts upon quality of life, including sleep disturbance and serious annoyance otherwise caused. Some indication of the scale of annoyance is available from noise contours, which have substantially contracted at Heathrow and Gatwick over the past two decades or so (but have expanded at Stansted).Daytime contours for Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted airports in 2001 are available on the DfT website at Further information for these and other airports in the South East is available in the relevant consultation documents on the Future Development of Air Transport and supporting technical material.The Government are signatory to the WHO Charter on Transport, the Environment and Health, and have regard to the guidelines referred to therein.