One voice from both sides for new Heathrow noise group
Campaigners and airport together
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.”
CAMPAIGN: Chairman of HACAN John Stewart