We believe the futureLuToN team provided misleading information to the public about aircraft noise trends during their earlier consultation on Luton Airport expansion. Data from the airport’s own Annual Reports shows that the noisiness of departing flights is increasing year on year, despite futureLuToN’s claims to the contrary. Steve Heappey, the public information display boards, and the futureLuToN website all appeared to have got this crucial information wrong.

futureLuToN claimed a quieter trend over time on their website and display boards:

Now look at the following graphs showing the percentage of departures from Luton Airport which are noisier than 76dbA, by day and night, from 2005 to 2010:

In 2005 only 8% of departing daytime flights were above 76dbA - by 2010 this had doubled to around 16%. At night, 10% were louder than 76dbA but this had doubled to 20% in 2010. These figures clearly show that the flights are getting noisier over time – and the raw data has been available in the public domain for years. Did they miss it?

Why the additional noise? The airport are struggling to explain it. We believe it’s caused by the changing mix to larger, heavier aircraft, plus the fact that the flights are going further so are carrying more fuel. The effect of this is completely the opposite to what futureLuToN had said. “As passenger numbers increase”, Steve Heappey said, ”bigger planes will be used so that double the passengers does not mean double the flights.” But the last 5 years have shown that bigger planes mean more noise, hence they are completely misleading us by claiming that the aircraft will be quieter.

The annual noise figures for departing flights from Luton Airport can be found here: Annual Reports 2005-2010. You can add up the number of flights that are louder than a chosen value and calculate the percentage of the total. To save you the trouble you can download the results here: Luton Airport Noise Trends. These graphs will show you the real trend behind their tables of data.

Does misinforming the public over a serious issue invalidate the consultation process ?

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8 thoughts on “Noise-gate

  1. Yesterday, Saturday, I was working in garden and generally outside (North East St Albans – Jersey Farm Estate) and I got rather irate at the persistent noise of the continuous number of flights going across from all directions so I went onto Flightradar24 this morning to check out between 10.00 UTC – 14.15 UTC and recorded 38 flights going over our spot. Mainly Heathrow and over-flights but also Luton. All at differing heights, some bigger planes than others and higher but just as noisy so that puts Luton’s argument for larger planes being quieter in basket of myth. It is pure and unadulterated noise pollution.

  2. Budget airlines doing the `Benidorm run’ – or similar – try to fit in 3 return flights a day.

    Hence I can hear* aircraft from 06:30 until 12 midnight. Also I have logged a complaint about one departure at 01:27 am the other night. (* I have a noise meter and I can record 60 dba sound levels in my back garden) As for those that comment that they never hear a plane in Harpenden, I suggest they go to Kinsbourne Green at 06:30, when the wind is blowing from the West – they should then hear aircraft every 5-10 minutes until about 09:15, when the first wave of departures abates.

    Two of my Friends have now moved out of the general area as not being a place they now want to live in, despite being Residents since the mid 1980′s. One had the misfortune to unknowingly move under the flightpath from the Luton stack, and his Wife suffered a near nervous breakdown because of the relentless aircraft noise. They are now in Cornwall, having paid a heavy financial and social price.

    Also I have reminded our local MP that the Conservative pre-election strapline was `Vote Blue, Go Green’ or somesuch. Broken promises yet again ?

    • I couldn’t agree more with this respondent. We used to live in the beautiful village of Rushden in North Hertfordshire and were forced to move to Devon because of the unbearable noise caused by arriving Luton aircraft. These were mainly airbuses flying at an effective height of two thousand feet above us every couple of minutes at peak times – which started at 6.30 in the morning and often continued until past midnight. Their noise was very intrusive as they sounded more like sirens than normal aircraft.

  3. There is major noise from Landing planes over Stevenage, same again morning , noon and night. If something could be done to reduce council tax in Stevenage to a ‘large’ number of residents (Chells, Pin Green and Old Town) this would be extremely expensive to SBC and Herts CC, I’m sure this would cause major upset in the plans for the expansion?
    I am applying for Council Tax Reduction as we speak, hopefully I can spread the word!

  4. The noise also affects villages that are not over flown. In Welwyn the airport can be heard as a distant roar at all hours. I am highly sceptical about any claims that this proposed expansion will benefit anyone except those who directly stand to profit from it. People in the south east of England have enough overcrowding, noise and pollution. No airports should be allowed to expand.

  5. The fabric and peace of the village has been destroyed since the trials began last May and the knock-on effect from other airlines and whatever excuse or reason the airport comes up with since ranging from magnetic drift to Hungarian pilots not following their guidelines . As has my peace and sleep. I have dealt at length with officials from the airport and no longer have any faith in anything they claim any more. They really do seem to have no respect for neighbouring residents and initially treated the concerns of villagers with disdain. This when people living here for more than 20 years have told them there has never been disturbance on this scale before. I’ve even been told – “It’s because you have a heightened awareness of the planes that that they now disturb you.”

  6. I have been logging the planes since August and they fly over us literally morning, noon and night along the same path with almost no deviation so I wouldn’t be surprised if they use St Leonard’s to navigate! Since the end of the so-called “trial”, except for a few weeks, the pattern of flights has not changed at all. One of my main concerns is how low the planes now fly. This is definitely making it much noisier. You can see them cruise from Kinsbourne Green to Flamstead, at the same low altitude, making no effort to ascend. Surely this is a big part of the problem?

  7. It is at 8am on Sunday mornings that I most notice the planes going over and making disturbing noise. This has been standard over the past months. Last Sunday morning was no exception. Do they use the Flamstead church spire to guide their turn? Sunday morning should be a time for quiet prayer.

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