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Housing turned down because of airport

3rd November, 2008

Planning permission for a housing development has been denied because the houses would be affected by noise from a nearby airport.

In July 2008, a planning inspector refused an appeal against refusal of planning permission for 71 housing units in Solihull, close to Birmingham International Airport (Planning reference APP/Q4625/A/07/2059211).

Planning guidance on noise exposure is given in PPG24 (PPG is ‘Planning Policy Guidance’).  The inspector concluded that the housing would lie in category ‘NEC B’ which is a daytime average Leq aircraft noise of 57-66dB. In this category  “Noise should be taken into account when determining planning applications and, where appropriate, conditions imposed to ensure an adequate level of protection against noise.” The inspector considered that imposing conditions on the airport or aircraft would be unrealistic.

The night time noise limits are more stringent, NEC B being 48-57dB. The inspector concluded that the noise might well reach the NEC C category which at night is 57-66dB. The guidance says that “Planning permission should not normally be granted ..”.

This case highlights the fact that airport can ‘sterilise’ land, preventing it from being used for productive purposes. This is a real economic cost. It is an ‘external cost’ of aviation because the aviation and its customers do not pay the cost that is imposed on society.