12/07/2012

The problem of too much noise

On the "En Ligne Directe" radio programme this morning there was a discussion on the problems of noise pollution. Are you affected?


The number of people complaining about noise appears to be rising significantly. The discussion on the radio program touched on many points of interest, ranging from cowbells and church bells to road and air transport.

I felt that I had to take part and mention the problem of airport noise around Geneva airport, so I called in to say that our ARAG association is particularly concerned with noise during the night. Such night noise has already been highlighted by the World Health Organisation as liable to cause problems, not only for adults (hypertension) but also young children (slowing intellectual development, possbly increasing learning difficulties).

One person called Philippe, now living somewhere in the mountains above Sion, had a simple solution. If we don't like the noise (of aircraft at night or of other Geneva noise) then we just have to move elsewhere! These remarks caused an instant reaction from a lady correspondent and from myself, to the effect that it is completely unrealistic to think that people who have a family, children in a school, a job and a place to live (the latter has been a problem for as long as I have been here, which is a long time) can just move out to the countryside. In any case, even the countryside around Geneva is not exempt from aircraft overflights: just go to country areas away from the airport but under the standard arrival and departure trajectories to verify this!

Part of the fight of ARAG is in particular against take-offs after 11 pm. This is simply because such take-offs, being normally much more noisy than landings, are much more liable to wake people up: it can then take a while to go back to sleep. It is good to note that the fact that regular airlines do not schedule departures aftere 10 pm, and are in general much more punctual than in previous years, means that there are very few of their aircraft which actually take off after 11 pm.

Unfortunately, there are a number of departures of business jets for which the passengers are apparently allowed to schedule departures late in the evening (I say "apparently" because we can never obtain any information on the scheduled departure time of business jets!). So far this month ( December 1 to 6) there have been 6 take-offs after 11 pm, only one of which was a delayed scheduled flight. Of the 5 business jets, the worst example was of a Falcon 900, one of only about 5% of aircraft not in the least noisy category, which took off at 11h45 pm on Monday 3 December. The noise that it registered in Vernier was only equalled that day by the very big intercontinental aircraft departing for North America. Even more curious is the fact that these big intercontinental aircraft are actually in a noisier category than the Falcon.

I have recently been taken to task by our Geneva airport authorities because, when looking on the EANS site at the noise of aircraft in Geneva, it is too easy to click to make a complaint. I have just used exactly this procedure for this particular case, and can state that it requires several confirmation clicks to acknowledge the text that I should include to explain the complaint in order actually to send the complaint.

Is it normal that organisations responsible for significant noise should complain about it being too simple to send a complaint about noise to them?

 

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