UK monitoring of aircraft noise ‘seriously underestimates’ disturbance to people’s health [The Independent, 27/01/20]

Flight cacophony ‘more annoying’ than road or rail and we are becoming increasingly sensitive to it, research finds

The way aircraft noise is monitored in the UK “seriously underestimates” the disturbance it causes, research suggests.

Some European countries, such as the Netherlands, start measuring plane noise at 45 decibels (dB), but the UK starts it at 55dB – the minimum it is legally obliged to, which has caused needless disruption to people’s lives and health, the report says.

Countryside campaigners, who say lower levels are a better indicator of noise pollution, are calling for the government to make the monitoring more sensitive, which could have significant effects on decisions over airport planning.

It comes as airport expansion plans are being considered across the UK, including a new Heathrow runway, and as the government prepares a new aviation strategy.

The research, commissioned by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), is a central part of a new report, Flight Blight: the Social and Environmental Cost of Aviation Expansion.

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