21st March 2014

SSE calls for Independent Noise Watchdog

Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) welcomes the recent Aircraft Noise Summit conference held in London last week [11 March] where a further call for an independent noise ombudsman was the main item on the agenda.

A diverse group of leading industry, political and local government figures signed a joint declaration calling on the Government and politicians of all colours to work collaboratively with all stakeholders for the early establishment of an independent aircraft noise ombudsman to further enhance and protect the welfare of people living near airports.

It was also one of the key recommendations in the Interim Report published last December by the Airports Commission chaired by Sir Howard Davies which called for the creation of an Independent Aviation Noise Authority to provide expert and impartial advice about the noise impacts of aviation.

SSE very much agrees with these initiatives. 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.

SSE’s noise adviser Martin Peachey commented: “Independent oversight of airport noise is long overdue and so we very much hope the Government will move quickly to establish this new independent watchdog. Importantly, this must not just be a body which only gives advice and makes recommendations. It must also have the power to set and enforce higher standards and reduce aviation noise nuisance for local communities around airports and under flight paths.”

Campaigning to ensure Stansted Airport's authorised operations stay below harmful limits