| Press Release - 19 November 2013
SSE WELCOMES CALL FOR AN INDEPENDENT NOISE WATCHDOG
Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) welcomes the call by London First for an independent noise ombudsman to protect people living near airports and under flight paths from aircraft noise.
London First, which represents many of the UK's leading businesses, suggests that a new independent noise ombudsman should have a range of powers including the ability to fine airlines that break noise limits. It believes this would help address the lack of trust and transparency between those pressing for airport expansion and local communities.
SSE very much agrees with London First on these points. SSE has in fact been calling for an independent noise watchdog since 2006 and has repeatedly been pressing the Department for Transport, the CAA and MPs, to introduce independent oversight of aircraft noise and the other environmental impacts of airports on local communities.
At present, airport operators are themselves responsible for monitoring and reporting upon the environmental impacts of their own operations, acting as judge, jury and policeman. It is not therefore surprising that there is so much mistrust amongst local communities in relation to the fairness and transparency of the current arrangements for policing aircraft noise and other adverse environmental impacts of airports on local communities.
The French Government set up an independent authority over 12 years ago to control noise disturbance at airports. Amongst other jurisdictions, Frankfurt Airport in Germany has an independent noise abatement group as part of an agreement with local stakeholders.
The UK Government, however, has even entrusted airport operators to produce their own noise action plans. The UK is the only EU Member State which has left this important environmental task in the hands of the airport operators themselves.
SSE's noise adviser Martin Peachey commented: "This is like being both poacher and gamekeeper at the same time. An independent noise watchdog is long overdue."
FURTHER INFORMATION AND COMMENT
Martin Peachey, SSE Noise Adviser - T 01279 870374; M 07803 603999; firstname.lastname@example.org
SSE Campaign Office, T 01279 870558; email@example.com