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Heathrow Airport: Noise

Volume 488: debated on Wednesday 25 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the number of individuals (a) residing within the area of a 50 decibel contour of Heathrow Airport on the latest date for which figures are available and (b) likely to be residing within the area of a 50 decibel contour of the airport in 2020. (257497)

Although 54 dBA aircraft noise contours are sometimes produced as a sensitivity analysis, aircraft modelling below such levels is generally considered to be unlikely to generate accurate and reliable results.

In the case of night time contours where air traffic levels are lower, the corresponding noise contours are smaller, such that a 50 dBA L night contour is much closer to the airport and can therefore be estimated with reasonable precision.

Under the European Environmental Noise Directive 2002/49/EC, member states are required to produce strategic noise maps every five years for major airports.

The directive requires that maps should represent annual average noise values and requires the use of four different parameters including contours—in five dB steps—for 50 to 70 dBA L night (23.00-07.00).

Population figures for L night in respect of Heathrow were produced in 2007, based on 2006 movements. The population within the 50-55 dBA band was 145,300.

Further information is contained in ERCD Report 0706 “London Heathrow Airport Strategic Noise Maps 2006” available on Civil Aviation Authority’s website at: