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Aircraft: Noise

Volume 470: debated on Monday 7 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what estimates she has made of the likely mean (a) nitrogen dioxide and (b) aircraft noise levels in each London borough under each of the proposed third runway scenarios in (i) 2015, (ii) 2020 and (iii) 2030; and what equivalent estimates she has made if levels of nitrogen dioxide emissions and noise from aircraft remain at average 2007 levels; (171791)

(2) what the mean (a) nitrogen dioxide, (b) PM10 and (c) aircraft noise levels were in each London borough in (i) 2000 and (ii) the last year for which figures are available.

The consultation document “Adding Capacity at Heathrow Airport” and supporting technical reports include data and contours for NO2, PM10 and noise in the Heathrow area for 2002 (the base year for comparative purposes) and future airport development scenarios for 2015, 2020 and 2030.

Comprehensive information on air quality for each London borough is available via the London Air Quality Network


and is updated daily.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the reasons were for the time taken to publish her Department's Attitudes to Noise from Aviation Sources report. (170691)

This was an especially challenging study given that it was not only reviewing attitudes of people to aircraft noise, but additionally was attempting ground breaking work by using specialist techniques to examine what monetary value should be put on such annoyance.

The study took longer to complete than originally envisaged primarily to accommodate additional pilot studies—as recommended by independent experts—designed to reinforce the methodology underpinning the main phase of the social survey.

The results of the study were announced just as soon as the extensive independent peer review process was completed.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if she will take steps to provide for independent verification of whether aircraft noise limits are being exceeded at UK airports. (170698)

The issue of independent monitoring of breaches of aircraft noise limits is a matter for individual airports as part of their day-to-day operational business.

I am aware of a number of cases where airports ensure that there is independent consideration of their noise and track keeping systems either by being certified to the ISO 14001 environmental management standard or having environmental policy and management systems subject to regular independent audit. In their environmental guidance manual for airports the Airport Operators Association acknowledge that the demonstration of a good environmental management system through externally certified management system can enable the airport to secure better relationships with customers, investors and the local community.

In the “Future of Air Transport” White Paper we said that our preference remains that local solutions should be devised for local problems wherever possible, and we expect airport master plans to describe the package of measures that an airport operator intends to apply to deal with local noise problems. We look to individual airport noise and track keeping groups and consultative committees to monitor airport operations such as track-keeping, noise mapping and observance of Continuous Descent Approach (CDA).