HC Deb 31 March 2003 vol 402 cc518-9W
Mr. Prisk

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps his Department is taking to monitor aircraft disturbance around airports, with particular reference to Stansted; and what plans his Department has for improving existing measures. [105241]

Mr. Jamieson

At Stansted, as at Gatwick and Heathrow, the noise climate is monitored by noise exposure contours, published each year to form an aircraft noise index. There are also fixed and mobile noise monitors in the vicinity of each airport which are part of the Noise and Track-keeping (NTK) system operated by BAA plc.

The contours are determined by a computer model which calculates the emission and propagation of noise, using a database that is regularly updated with operational data gathered at the airports.

The location of the fixed noise monitors was determined after a lengthy review and consultation on the departure noise limits and associated monitoring arrangements was announced on 18 December 2000, Official Report, columns 11–12W. In announcing that decision, my hon. Friend the Member for Sunderland, South (Mr. Mullin), confirmed the commencement of a further review of both monitoring efficiency and of the departure noise limits. The findings of that review will be published shortly.

The mobile noise monitors are used to collect data for technical studies by the Civil Aviation Authority, for information gathering and to investigate local problems. At Stansted, as at Gatwick and Heathrow, it is normal practice for the deployment of monitors for local purposes to be discussed at meetings of the NTK working group on which local people are represented by members of the airport consultative committee.