How many people affected?

Heathrow already impacts on huge number of people.  With nearly 50% more flights and passengers, one would expect noise impacts to increase by about 50% with a third runway.  But, by sleight of hand, DfT contrives to hide the overall impact and tries to show the effect of a third runway is far less than it would really be.

Here’s how.

The National Policy Statement (NPS) main document, which has been presented to Parliament has pages of waffle on noise (page 51-55), but studiously avoids telling MPs and the public what the actual noise impact would be.

In one of its NPS documents (see Noise explanation and notes para 7) the government states that “ .. around 92,700 more people will be affected by noise with a third runway than compared to a two runway Heathrow Airport in 2030.”

This figure is highly misleading.  It is based on an assumption that only people exposed to daytime noise of more 54dB are “affected”.  But a government spreadsheet (notes paras 1-3)  – only obtained after a Freedom of Information request to the Civil Aviation Authority – tells a very different story. The spreadsheet recognises that people are affected by daytime noise and night-time noise down to 45dB.  From the spreadsheet we find that (notes paras 8-9):

With a third runway 1.16 million more people  would be exposed to more day-time noise (net increase) and
0.32 million more people (net) would be exposed to more night-time noise.

A truly astonishing difference from the 93 thousand the government claims in the NPS!

For more detail see notes para 7.  

We do not claim that the figures in the table above and the 93 thousand claimed in the NPS are calculated on the same basis. See notes  para 10. But the discrepancy between the number of people in government’s own private spreadsheet outputs and the number in its public NPS statement is so huge that, the figure of 92,700, without explanation or elucidation, is materially misleading for MPs and public.

The total numbers of people exposed to noise are equally remarkable (notes para 11):

With 2 runways 3.37 million people would be exposed to day-time noise and 0.47 million would be exposed to night-time noise. 

With 3 runways 4.44 million people would be exposed to day-time noise and 0.71 million would be exposed to night-time noise.

Nowhere in NPS document are these figures quoted.  Their absence (or anything similar, or any explanation) is materially misleading for MPs and public alike.

The number of people exposed to noise with 2 runways is unacceptable. Let alone 3 runways!

Sincere thanks are due to TAG  who use a Freedom of Information request to obtain the government spreadsheet and who first publicised  the issue.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/apr/09/heathrow-third-runway-noise-affect-people-government-documents]

Back to main noise page.

Who is responsible for this deceit and misinformation? Here