Aircraft noise policies risking health, claims environment group

Aircraft noise policies risking health, claims environment group

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The government’s aircraft noise policies are risking the health of more than one million people, an environmental group claims.

The Aviation Environment Federation today called for an urgent policy rethink is needed ahead of upcoming decisions in 2016 over airport expansion.

The study identifies aircraft noise as being associated with increased risk of heart and circulatory problems including increased blood pressure, and higher risk of heart attack, heart disease and stroke.

Health is also detrimentally affected through sleep disturbance and annoyance and aircraft noise impedes the memory and learning ability of school children, according to the federation.

The study says around 460 schools are exposed to aircraft noise at levels around Heathrow that can impede memory and learning in children while around 600,000 people in the UK are exposed to average aircraft noise levels that risk regular sleep disturbance.

The report is being unveiled at the House of Commons today with the backing of the anti-Heathrow expansion group Hacan.

It calls for the government to draw up long-term noise targets to protect health and review all noise policies in light of these targets.

The report also wants any future flightpath changes, new night noise regulations and a new runway in the southeast to be permitted only if the decision helps to reduce the noise burden on communities.

The report's author, James Lees, said: “The lack of response from the government in face of a growing evidence base of the health effects of aircraft noise is putting the health of over one million people in the UK at risk.

“For too long aircraft noise has been seen as only an inconvenience. In fact, aircraft noise is increasing the risk of high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke among people overflown and preventing children from achieving their potential in schools exposed to high levels of aircraft noise.

“Failure to address this problem could make aircraft noise the next public health crisis waiting to happen. Government should end its inaction and start putting the health of its citizens first.”


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