Noise: Pollution Control

Department for Transport written question – answered on 4th February 2015.

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Photo of Mary Macleod Mary Macleod Conservative, Brentford and Isleworth

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department applies the World Health Organisation's night noise guidelines for Europe; and whether these guidelines have been broken since May 2010.

Photo of Robert Goodwill Robert Goodwill Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

The World Health Organisation’s (WHOs) guidelines for night noise in Europe relate to outside noise levels from all sources and not just transport.

At a national level, noise is managed through the implementation of the Government’s policy on noise, set out in the Noise Policy Statement for England. Its vision is to “promote good health and a good quality of life through the effective management of noise within the context of Government policy on sustainable development”. The Noise Policy Statement for England recognises that it is not possible to have a single objective noise-based measure that is applicable to all sources of noise in all situations. This is because effect levels are likely to be different for different noise sources, different people and at different times.

There are noise limits in place for motor vehicles and new railway rolling stock has to comply with noise limits set out in EU technical specifications. Civil aircraft using UK airports are subject to international noise certification standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organisation.

The Government restricts night flights at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted airports in order to limit noise. The Government’s stated objective for this regime is to limit and where possible reduce the number of people significantly affected by aircraft noise at night. This will be measured by the area and number of people within the night quota period contours and in particular the 55dBLAeq contour.

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