Putney suffers from aircraft noise - it's official!

as CAA map contradicts Government claims


Sign up for our free weekly newsletter

Comment on this story on the


New maps published by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) appear to contradict Government claims that local residents do not suffer from aircraft noise.

The Department for Transport has consistently pointed to the official Heathrow noise maps which show the areas of the capital where levels exceed an average 57 decibels over a 16 hour period. This has traditionally been interpreted by the Government as the level at which residents are annoyed by noise.

Because the contours only stretch as far as Richmond, officials have been able to dismiss concerns expressed by Putney residents under the flightpath.

But maps published by the CAA based on EU data show for the first time the true scale of the noise impact in this area.

Based on a 55 decibel average over a 24 hour period, the results place the whole of the northern part of the borough above the noise threshold - extending beyond Putney over Clapham Common and into Lambeth.

The map to the left shows the day time contours.




The night time contours (set at a 50 decibel average between 11pm and 7am) stretch across Putney and over into Battersea. (See map on right)

The new contours were commissioned by the environment department (DEFRA) as part of their planning for new EU noise rules. They have recently come to light as part of consultation in the UK on the new directive which requires that noise maps should be prepared for airports and other sources of annoyance.

Once the maps are agreed action plans should be prepared to manage the environmental impact.

Council leader Edward Lister said the council would not be satisfied until data was based on actual measurements which could be directly linked to people's attitudes to different noise levels. But he welcomed the new EU definitions as a major step forward describing them as presenting a much more realistic picture.

He added, "People in Putney, Wandsworth and Battersea have never needed an A-Z to know that their health was being affected by aircraft noise. But it has always been too easy for their concerns to be brushed aside when all the official data showed Wandsworth outside the DfT's artificial noise cordon."

Wandsworth Council have also argued that in the long term aircraft noise could only be properly managed by an independent regulator.

Under the Government's proposals the Secretary of State will compile the maps but airport operators are to be allowed to write their own action plans. Wandsworth opposed this in its response and said plans should be the responsibility for the Secretary of State for Environment and should include full consultation with local authorities.

The Environmental Noise Directive (2002/49/EC) says noise maps for airports should be prepared by 2007 with action plans ready a year later. Plans should then be the subject of full local consultation.

May 27, 2005