Aircraft noise over east London is measured in a “misleading” way, campaigners say

Noise from planes over east London is far worse than reports suggest because of the “misleading” ways airports gather their information, aviation campaigners warn.

Activists HACAN say the two airports which contribute most to noise pollution across east London, Heathrow and London City, are not giving a true reflection of the scale of the problem.

Each airport measures air traffic separately, meaning the true impact of noise from aircraft is not recorded.

The group is now pressurising airports to change their methods and wants the government – which is reassessing aviation policy in March – to do the same.

John Stewart, chairman of HACAN East, said: “Currently the way noise is measured underestimates the total noise suffered by people living under the flight paths of both London City and Heathrow airports.

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“It paints an inaccurate and misleading picture.”

The effect of aircraft on the East End, especially over the Isle of Dogs and Bow, is getting worse because Heathrow in particular has grown so significantly in the last ten years, HACAN said.

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BAA, which owns and runs Heathrow, said it is “aware that the metrics currently used don’t necessarily reflect people’s experience of aircraft noise”.

A spokeswoman added that HACAN’s points are a “valid contribution” to the debate on how noise should be measured.

London City Airport said it “complies fully” with the current requirements, adding that any changes could only be instigated by the government.

A spokesman for the Department for Transport said: “The government recognises that noise is a matter of serious concern for residents and one of the least acceptable impacts of aviation. Over recent months we have been engaged in a dialogue with a wide range of stakeholders on the future direction of aviation policy.”

Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, London City and Luton are required to produce noise maps, the DfT added.

The first mapping was based on 2006 movements from their airports and the next will be based on 2011 movements.

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