Heathrow campaigners take new noise report to House of Commons

Wandsworth Guardian: Campaigners believe the accepted decibel is flawed and out of date Campaigners believe the accepted decibel is flawed and out of date

An all-party group of MPs, councils and aviation campaigners came to the House of Commons on Wednesday to officially launch an aircraft noise report which could change the course of the airport expansion debate.

The group claim that Sir Howard Davies, head of the Government’s airports commission, has so far failed to address the ‘ANASE update study’ by leading acoustician Dr Ian Flindell.

The report suggests the number of people affected by Heathrow noise is currently around one million - four times the estimate recognised by the Davies airports commission.

It shows the 57 decibel benchmark the aviation industry and Davies are using to measure aircraft noise impacts is flawed and severely out of date.

The outdated metric allows the expansion lobby to claim that increasing the total number of flights would reduce the number of people annoyed by aircraft noise.

The updated ANASE report was first submitted to the Airports Commission in September last year.

But Sir Howard Davies continues to rely on the old 57 decibel noise metric.

He has since recommended more night flights over London and shortlisted Heathrow and Gatwick as potential sites for new runways.

At Wednesday’s launch at the House of Commons MPs challenged Davies to explain why his commission has failed to respond to this new noise evidence.

In his report Dr Flindell explains the 57 decibel benchmark Davies uses to indicate when communities become annoyed by overhead flights is based on a survey conducted in 1982 which asked people how they were affected by noise.

In 32 years it has never been updated.

Leader of Wandsworth Council and spokesman for 2M Ravi Govindia said: "We’re not saying Davies has to adopt the ANASE report or stick to a 50 decibel benchmark.

"But he does have to investigate a new, more rigorous noise metric with which to assess and compare the noise impacts and costs of all the airport proposals.

"He can’t base tomorrow’s runway decision on such out of date evidence which bares no resemblance to real-life experience."

The campaigners say Sir Howard Davies will not be able to sweep the report under the carpet and that he must base his recommendations on a noise metric communities can trust.

To let Sir Howard Davies know your views email Howard.Davies@airports.gsi.gov.uk More information is online at www.wandsworth.gov.uk/heathrow

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