04/25/2012

International noise awareness day

Today, April 25 2012, is International Noise Awareness day. The reports of the great and continuing increase in traffic at Geneva airport is very relevant to our noise awareness.


The morning Swiss radio programme "on en parle" contained an interview with Anne-Christine Favre, who is president of the Swiss federal commission for the fight against noise. Her commission, called the CFLB (Commission fédérale pour la lutte contre le bruit) is reminding us (yet again) that noise can cause illnesses of various sorts, in particular for children. Last year, in a blog, I mentioned a report of the World Health Organisation which said precisely the same thing.

One very interesting report on the CFLB web site is entitled

Valeurs limites d'exposition au bruit des aéroports nationaux, septembre 1997

In this report there is the specification of what were the various restrictions on night flights at that time (1997). At that time, Zurich and Geneva were subject to the same rule that only regular scheduled airline traffic could operate between 10pm and midnight (with an extension to 0h30 for unexpected delays). Other commercial traffic (such as charters) could only operate until 11pm, whilst private traffic should stop at 10pm. Today ALL commercial traffic can operate until midnight (plus the 30 minutes for unexpected delays). Worse, any flight by any company which is authorised to carry passengers is considered as commercial, even if it is empty or restricted to those who in reality own the aircraft.

One informative site on today's awareness day is that of the Center for Hearing and Communication. One part of this site is specifically devoted to airport noise, and begins with the statement that

People who live close to airports suffer more than mere annoyance from ascending and descending aircraft. Beyond annoyance, aircraft noise may have significant mental and physical health impacts on people who live below the flight path of commercial and private airplanes.

The reports of the increased traffic at Geneva airport, which (in my opinion) include a certain amount of information that can mislead the reader (usually known as spin), almost inevitably imply that we in Geneva will get more and more noise, in particular during the night. Thus, we may become more and more interested in the Noise Awareness days in future years.

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