FACT SHEET 4: AIRCRAFT NOISE and Bristol Airport
The Fact Sheets are intended as a reference for issues raised by the threatened expansion of Bristol
Airport and updated regularly. Comment and suggestions welcome.
Contact: STOPBAex@gmail.com (subject line: attn LT)
A Summary of the Problem
If full Airport expansion goes ahead, there will be a flight movement on average
every 3.5 minutes, 16 hours a day, an increase from 8 to 17 an hour. An extra
5,453 dwellings in North Somerset will be affected by airport noise. 4,000 night
flights between the hours of 23:30 and 06:00 with no seasonal restrictions will
damage mental health and wellbeing in regional communities, with greatest
impact on children and the infirm.
Impact of Aircraft Noise on Health
(1) Studies in Europe and the UK demonstrate that aircraft noise has substantial
effects on cardiovascular disease including hypertension, ischaemic heart disease,
heart failure and stroke. Aviation noise particularly at night causes increased blood
pressure as stress hormone levels rise.
Aviation noise should not be considered in isolation. Atmospheric pollution
engendered by a marked increase in road traffic in the vicinity of airports is likely to
act in conjunction with the noise from aircraft to induce pulmonary disease in
children experiencing low air quality.
(2.a) A German study revealed that a day-time average sound pressure level of
60 decibels increased coronary heart disease by 61% in men and 80% in women. A
night-time average sound pressure level of 55 decibels increased the risk of heart
attacks by 66% in men and 139% in women. Statistically significant health effects
started from an average sound pressure level of 40 decibels.
(2.b) ‘We have a night time noise limit for departing aircraft of 85 decibels (dB),
as recorded at our centreline noise monitors, which is more stringent than our
daytime limit of 90 dB.’
The numbers refer to paragraph numbers in the above documents
(1) ‘The Harms to Health of Aircraft Noise’, British Medical Journal (June 2019).
(2.a) Tödlicher Lärm (tr. ‘Deadly Noise’) Der Spiegel (14 December 2009).
(2.b) ‘About Us: Noise Management’, Bristol International Airport website
(3 & 4) http://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/environment-andhealth/
(5 & 7) ‘Revised Comment on the Independent Review of Noise & Vibration’ Parish
Councils Airport Association (2019), Comments on Planning Application
(6)’Planning Application 18/P/5118/OUT: PCAA Submission to North Somerset
District Council (2019)’, ‘Inadequacies of the Environmental Statement’ (para.30,31).
(8) ’Planning Application 18/P/5118/OUT: PCAA Submission to North Somerset
District Council (2019)’, ‘Noise’ (para.6).
(9) ’Planning Application 18/P/5118/OUT: PCAA Submission to North Somerset
District Council (2019)’, ‘Health’ (para.12).
(10) ‘ICCAN. Candidate Information Pack’, Department of Transport (2019).
(11) Testimony from local resident (name supplied, withheld on request)
SBAEx Fact Sheets