One voice from both sides for new Heathrow noise group

Cam­paign­ers and air­port to­gether

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS - By Alexan­der Ballinger

AN un­likely com­bi­na­tion of Heathrow Air­port and anti-Heathrow ex­pan­sion cam­paign­ers have joined forces in sup­port­ing the cre­ation of a new in­de­pen­dent noise au­thor­ity.

The In­de­pen­dent Avi­a­tion Noise Au­thor­ity (IANA) was one of the rec­om­men­da­tions made by the Air­ports Com­mis­sion in 2015 and would be an “im­par­tial source of ex­pert ad­vice on noise”.

The an­nounce­ment comes af­ter a new poll of MPs found 74% now back Heathrow’s ex­pan­sion, which amounts to a 7% jump from Au­gust.

ComRes sur­veyed 130 MPs on­line and by pa­per ques­tion­naire.

Chair­man of HACAN, John Stewart, said: “It is well known we don’t agree with Heathrow in ev­ery­thing but on this is­sue we are speak­ing with one voice.

“A strong, in­de­pen­dent noise au­thor­ity can bring re­as­sur­ance to lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties but can also en­cour­age air­ports to take their noise re­spon­si­bil­i­ties.”

The gov­ern­ment has also backed the idea, and will be hold­ing a con­sul­ta­tion on the role and scope of the or­gan­i­sa­tion in 2017.

Both Heathrow Air­port and HACAN agree that the IANA should pro­vide im­par­tial ex­pert ad­vice on noise, co­or­di­nate in­de­pen­dent re­search, ad­ju­di­cate on noise com­plaints that can­not be man­aged lo­cally and en­sure that com­mu­ni­ties have ac­cess to in­for­ma­tion about noise and how air­ports are man­ag­ing is­sues.

In July 2016, HACAN hosted a pub­lic meet­ing in West­min­ster to dis­cuss the po­ten­tial im­pacts of air­port noise on men­tal health.

The meet­ing heard form Dirk Schreck­en­berg, who was in­volved in the Noise-re­lated an­noy­ance, cog­ni­tion and health (NORAH) study pub­lished in 2014.

Mr Schreck­en­berg said that while in­ves­ti­gat­ing the ef­fects of Frank­furt Air­port’s fourth run­way, peo­ple liv­ing nearby said their men­tal well­be­ing de­te­ri­o­rated.

The study also found that air­craft noise could de­lay a child’s read­ing de­vel­op­ment.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive of Heathrow Air­port, John Hol­land-Kaye, said: “We want to be a good neigh­bour, and re­duce the im­pact of air­craft noise on our lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties – some­thing on which we agree with HACAN.

“An in­de­pen­dent avi­a­tion noise au­thor­ity has an im­por­tant role to play in build­ing trust that we are meet­ing our com­mit­ments.”

Photo: Dan Kit­wood/ Getty Im­ages

CAM­PAIGN: Chair­man of HACAN John Stewart

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