Home Page Link Thaxted - under the present flightpath and threatened with quadrupled activity Takeley's 12th century parish church, close to proposed second runway Harcamlow Way, Bamber's Green - much of the long distance path and village would disappear under Runway 2 Clavering - typical of the Uttlesford villages threatened by urbanisation
Campaigning against proposals to expand Stansted Airport

image Press Release - 23 April 2010


Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) is calling for people across the community to share their experiences of noise - for better or worse - as part of this year's Noise Action Week, coordinated by Environmental Protection UK, which runs from Monday 26 April to Friday 30 April.

Campaigners at SSE say that their usual postbag of complaints about aircraft noise has been complemented by an influx of comments over the last week about the silent skies during the grounding of aircraft as a result of the Icelandic volcano eruption. However, this unique respite from the regular noise from overflying and constant drone of airport operations for those living near Stansted Airport is far from the usual picture.

Despite the continuing fall in aircraft numbers in recent years, complaints to the airport operator rose by 50 percent in 2009 over the previous year (excluding multiple complainers) even though there was a 13 percent drop in the number of planes. And, overall, the problem seems to be getting worse - even by official and rather misleading standards. The statistics from BAA show a 47 percent rise in the number of noise infringements - when aircraft noise measurements taken at the fixed ground monitors exceeded set limits.

But while the fixed noise monitors, sited at either end of the runway in Broxted and Great Hallingbury, caught out 28 of the 168,000 planes that used Stansted last year, this figure obscures the scale of the real and depressing problem of noise disturbance further afield. The reliance on these monitors means that no noise measurements are taken of any departing aircraft other than at these two specific locations close to the runway.

Furthermore, there is no monitoring at all of arriving planes. In addition, the noise infringement levels are set so high that many of the aircraft which give rise to complaints by the public aren't deemed to be officially noisy. The monitors therefore fail to give a proper measure of the adverse effects which people regularly suffer. A more accurate and broader picture of the incidents which give rise to disturbance beyond the usual intrusion is therefore urgently needed.

To help address this, SSE is calling on members of the public to use Noise Action Week as a spur to start reporting all excessively noisy aircraft to BAA's Noise Line using the special form on this website. This goes straight to BAA, with a copy to SSE's noise team who make a point of following up every query as part of the campaign's own quest to press for action on noise. SSE is also suggesting that members of the public make clear to BAA that the calm experienced during the recent shut-down of the airport has demonstrated just how noisy Stansted's operations really are during normal operation - and how urgently a reassessment of noise monitoring methods is needed.

Said Martin Peachey, SSE's noise spokesman and technical adviser on noise and track keeping to the Stansted Airport Consultative Committee: "It is generally accepted that people are now less tolerant to aircraft noise. Furthermore the Government acknowledged this fact in November 2007 when it published its latest study report on attitudes to aircraft noise."

He continued: "People locally have been worn down by the gradual increase in aircraft noise over the years and the peace of last week before the flights resumed shows how much we have lost. It is really important to find solutions to reduce aircraft noise exposure as well as to introduce effective noise monitoring and measurement methods that more adequately reflect people's perception of noise annoyance. By making concerns known through the reporting of noisy aircraft, the community can help SSE to press for changes for the better."


1. The figures from BAA for noise complaints and flight infringements during the last two years are as follows:

Stansted Airport20082009Difference
Number of flights193,321167,868-13.2%
Number of noise infringements1928+47.4%
Number of noise complaints (excl. multiple complainers)13612046+50.3%

2. Noise Action Week is an annual initiative coordinated by Environmental Protection UK that aims to raise awareness of the problems caused by noise and to help promote practical solutions. Transport noise is one of this year's special themes. See www.noiseactionweek.org.uk

3. Having commissioned a major study into attitudes to aircraft noise in 2001, the Government published the results in the Department for Transport Attitudes to Noise from Aviation Sources in England (ANASE) study on 2 November 2007. The then Secretary of State for Transport, Ruth Kelly, stated that "people are more annoyed by all levels of aircraft noise than they were in 1985." 1985 was the date when the Government last carried out a national study into attitudes to aircraft noise known as the Aircraft Noise Index Study (ANIS).

Carol Barbone, Campaign Director, SSE: M 0777 552 3091 & cbarbone@mxc.co.uk

Media Centre