Air­port agrees to triple-glaze 800 flight­path homes

The Scottish Mail on Sunday - - Comment - By Mar­cello Mega

GLAS­GOW Air­port is to pay out up to £8 mil­lion over the next five years to help with noise in­su­la­tion costs for around 800 homes close to its run­way.

The as­sis­tance pack­ages – es­ti­mated at around £10,000 per home – will be used to fund triple glaz­ing and loft in­su­la­tion.

The move fol­lows re­cent stud­ies which showed air­craft noise lev­els ex­pe­ri­enced at night by res­i­dents in some ar­eas ex­ceeded sub­stan­tially the safe lev­els ap­proved by the World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion – but were still not high enough to al­low prop­er­ties to qual­ify for com­pen­sa­tion.

How­ever, the air­port’s owner, AGS Air­ports, agreed to re­duce the qual­i­fy­ing level for sup­port to homes ex­pe­ri­enc­ing ex­ces­sive noise, from 66 deci­bels to 63.

The ef­fort to im­prove the qual­ity of life, par­tic­u­larly in White­crook, Cly­de­bank, where the worst lev­els were recorded, has been driven by its Na­tion­al­ist MSP, Gil Pater­son.

As part of a so­cial ex­per­i­ment, Mr Pater­son pumped more than £3,000 of his own money into work car­ried out on one of his con­stituent’s homes, fund­ing a tripleglaz­ing unit and loft in­su­la­tion.

Be­fore the work was car­ried out, noise lev­els in the bed­room reached the new 63 deci­bels qual­i­fy­ing level. The ad­di­tion of loft in­su­la­tion re­duced the level to 50 deci­bels, and re­plac­ing dou­ble-glaz­ing with triple-glaz­ing fur­ther re­duced the lev­els to 45 deci­bels. A sound-check out­side recorded 84 deci­bels.

Mr Pater­son said: ‘I thought this was in­cred­i­bly im­por­tant to im­prove the qual­ity of life in a com­mu­nity that is one of the poor­est in Scot­land. It’s in­ter­na­tion­ally recog­nised that sleep de­pri­va­tion has a knock-on ef­fect of ad­di­tional ill health in com­mu­ni­ties. The risk of strokes, heart dis­ease and car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease is up to 30 per cent greater in higher noise ar­eas.

He added: ‘Some of the houses are prac­ti­cally at the end of the run­way. When a plane is com­ing in to land, it’s so close you feel as though you could reach out and touch it. I was for­tu­nate that I was able to af­ford to put my own money into this re­search.’

He was as­sisted by sound en­gi­neer Ruben McLean, who gave his ser­vices for free to test noise lev­els. Mr Pater­son said: ‘I’m in­cred­i­bly grate­ful to the cou­ple that allowed me to use their home, to Ruben McLean for putting me right on ev­ery­thing to do with sound, and to the lo­cals who sup­ported our ef­forts.

‘I also want to give AGS credit for reducing the noise level.’

Mr Pater­son’s per­sonal in­ter­ven­tion was prompted be­cause the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment has vir­tu­ally no pow­ers in the op­er­a­tion of air­ports in Scot­land, as these are re­served by West­min­ster.

‘Im­prove the qual­ity of life in the com­mu­nity’

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