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ARC position paper on aviation noise

Aviation noise is the most critical environmental issue for residents around any airport. However, it's essential to remember that these residents are also impacted by global aviation emissions and local air quality. Noise impacts affect their quality of life, from comfort levels to mental disorders. Also, noise impact hinders urban development and devalues the real estate value of their houses and properties.

Despite the efforts made by public authorities, industry, and sector's stakeholders, the noise exposure reductions have not been associated with a commensurate fall in impacts. Indeed many surveys have shown an increase in annoyance for a given noise exposure level. The sensitivity of the population to noise is growing up as the living standards and quality of life of residents are growing. This situation is becoming a tremendous problem for the management of airports, but especially for the expansion of many of them (e.g. Frankfurt, Barcelona, Amsterdam). Therefore, together with climate change impacts, noise is at the present moment a big challenge for aviation growth, and the experience shows that fighting aviation noise solely with acoustical policies is no longer sufficient. Noise management requires tackling both acoustical and non-acoustical factors.

As a consequence, ARC developed a methodology to assess the implementation of noise policies at a set of given airports. Moreover, ARC has been involved in the ANIMA project as the communication partner. Over the last four years, ARC has been working together with some of the most significant aeronautical research centers in Europe, interacting with the aviation stakeholders by the different dissemination activities of the project, and always putting communities and residents in the center of the process to manage noise impact. As a result, ARC has gathered the primary outcomes in the ANIMA noise platform:

  • A Noise Management Toolset has also been developed and is available on this Platform. This toolset aims to help airports and authorities compute noise maps and awakening indexes to test the impact of different scenarios with various fleet configurations and flights.

  • The Virtual Community Tool, a research tool elaborating, testing and validating new indicators, visualisations and options that can be implemented into the Noise Management Toolset in the future.

  • The Dynamic Noise Maps, a research tool attempting to include the dynamics of the population's movements into the assessment of aircraft noise exposure.

ANIMA noise platform compiles, selects, structures and organises not only the information generated along with the project, but the Platform also gathers as much basic knowledge as possible per each expertise area in the most understandable way to facilitate the dialogue between different stakeholders and communities' representatives. If there is something that ARC has learned in ANIMA is that communication is key, so the Noise platform provides the medium and tools for stakeholders to address the challenges of aviation noise impact management and mitigation from a holistic approach.

The Platform is the result of the successful collaboration between aircraft and airport engineers, noise specialists, urban geographers, psychologists, sociologists and experts on aviation regulation, who sought to better understand the annoyance and develop best practice solutions to alleviate this burden.

The ANIMA partners carried out research and engaged in dialogue with policymakers, airports, and noise-affected communities to assess how aviation noise mitigation interventions are implemented and how affected these measures are in reducing annoyance and improving quality of life. This Platform captures the results of this research, offering an overview of aviation noise regulation and how to implement it, as well as current gaps and new solutions to bridge those gaps. It also provides tools, such as a mobile application, which is meant to help airports and authorities to capture how local communities perceive their acoustic environment in the airport region.

In addition, the Platform gives access to an enriched Aviation Noise Research Roadmap, which will support policymakers in defining future policy and research goals.

We believe we have achieved outstanding results that can be a guide to improving residents' quality of life near airports. However, there is still a lot to develop if we want to assure balanced relations between the positive and negative aspects of aviation & airport activities.

Therefore ARC, representing more than 70 million people:

  • Asks EU institutions to recognise, and therefore to pay the necessary attention, aviation noise as the main environmental problem of aviation growth together with climate change impacts.

  • Asks EU institutions to work together to create the legal framework that can stimulate, facilitate and obligate to all stakeholders the application of all best practices in the fight against aviation noise and its impact on quality of life.

  • Asks European Commission to keep the fight against aviation noise, considering its interdependencies, as one of the central goals in all programs of research, development and transfer of best practices in the following years

  • Considers and therefore offers itself and its members as the key interlocutor for all EU and national institutions and private and public stakeholders regarding the development of noise and air quality policy and projects as we, for already 28 years, have worked at the EU level to make the voice of our citizens heard and to work in a collaborative and active way to improve their quality of life at the same time that we support the development of aviation.


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