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Noise Action Plans Consultation

8th September, 2008


Environment Minister Jonathan Shaw has called for views on 4th Sep on how noise from airports can be managed effectively. This is to conform with the EU Environmental Noise Directive.

See government press release reproduced at the end of this article.

AEF will be studying the consultation and will advise members about responding.

While this may give some opportunities to improve the noise climate, one should not be over-optimistic. The EU Directive only requires an ‘Action Plan’ to be produced – it does not have to be effective! Nor does it require an airport to reduce noise or even prevent an increase.


Department for Environment, Food And Rural Affairs (National)

(DEFRA) Managing airport noise: Shaw calls for views

Views on how noise from airports can be managed effectively were today called for by Environment Minister Jonathan Shaw.

He made the call as Defra publishes draft guidance for comment that will be used to develop action plans to address noise from airports.

In line with the Environmental Noise Directive, airport operators must draft action plans that outline the measures they will take to manage and, where appropriate, reduce the level of environmental noise around airports.

Environment Minister, Jonathan Shaw said: “Balancing the increased demand for air travel with the desire for a peaceful environment is a difficult challenge. Much has already been done to reduce the noise from transport and industry, but there is more that we can do to limit, and in some cases reduce, the number of people affected by aircraft noise.

“It’s important that we get this right and develop the best available advice for airport operators if they are to deliver the most effective action plans. That is why we are seeking views on this draft guidance. I would urge anyone with an interest to respond.”

The plans will be informed by new noise maps that were published last year. These give details of daytime and night time noise levels for each airport, as well as noise levels around each site on an average day in 2006.

The proposed guidance supports the Government’s aim as set out in the Department for Transport’s Future of Air Transport White Paper (2003) to limit and possibly reduce the number of people affected by aircraft noise.

The proposed guidance includes the following actions for airport operators to take account of when drafting their plans:
* consider what further measures should be taken in residential areas that are exposed to more than 69 dB LAeq, 16 h;
* examine the day, evening and night results produced from the noise mapping and consider whether there are any features of the noise impact that might be measured further;
* ensure there is an effective complaint handling system in place;
* consider the information from any noise complaint data that is held and whether there are any measures that might be taken to manage further the aircraft noise impact;
* consider whether other new noise abatement objectives might be developed with the aim of providing further management of the noise impact;
* pro-actively engage with the land-use planning process, as mentioned in The Aerodrome (Noise Restrictions) (Rules and Procedures) Regulations 2003

Notes to editors

1. The draft guidance and instructions on how to respond can be accessed here: The consultation closes on Friday 28 November 2008.

2. The airport noise maps can be accessed at:

3. As Shoreham Airport does not operate during the night period, a night noise map was not produced.

4. Under the EU’s Environmental Noise Directive action plans for all major airports, roads, railways, and urban areas must be submitted to the European Commission by 18 January 2009.

5. The Regulations require the Secretary of State to publish guidance setting out limit values or other criteria for the identification of priorities for action plans. These guidelines fulfil the requirement for aviation action plans.

6. Airports are the competent authority for producing action plans, and once they are completed, the Secretary of State will consider for sign off.

7. The guidance supports the Government’s aim as set out in the Future of Air Transport White Paper (2003) to limit and possibly reduce the number of people affected by aircraft noise. It has been long standing policy for Noise Preferential Routes (NPRs) to be established. These routes seek to minimise those affected by aircraft noise by concentrating aircraft departures along a path avoiding densely populated areas. However, this has resulted in a possible impact on current quiet areas as identified in agglomeration action plans.

8. An agglomeration is defined by the regulations as a continuous urban area of more than 20 hectares with a population of more than 250,000 and a population density of more than 500 person per square kilometer.

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