More air traffic, more noise – all for what?

More than 2 million people would be exposed to additional aircraft noise if Heathrow builds a third runway, according to a government analysis.

Ministers have argued that Britain’s biggest airport will affect fewer people with noise in future, due to quieter planes. But government calculations suggest a new runway would still have a negative impact on nearly a million households, or 2.2 million people.

Department for Transport documents, released by the Civil Aviation Authority after a freedom of information request, show the government expects 973,000 households around Heathrow to experience increased daytime noise by 2050 after a third runway is built.

It said 673,800 households affected by Heathrow’s two runways will experience less noise once expansion takes place, making a net 300,000 worse off.

The airport has managed to double passenger numbers and decrease its noise footprint in recent decades, as the oldest and loudest planes have been phased out. It expects to be held to a 6.5-hour night flight ban as a condition of building a third runway.

Airspace around Heathrow is also to be redesigned, which could see fewer newly affected households, although with 50% more flights, taking the total number to up to 740,000 a year, limiting additional flightpaths would concentrate the burden on areas that are already overflown. .

Another side effect of the push for growth – more people affected by noise pollution.

The biggest argument against expanding air travel is of course the increase in carbon emissions – resulting in more climate change!

Best not to increase air travel if we are serious about doing something useful!


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