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A new system for recording the noise generated by aircraft using Bristol International Airport (BIA), and their adherence to agreed flight-paths, will be live from 1 February. Tracker will enable BIA to record where aircraft fly in relation to specific postcode locations on the ground. This will help the airport to respond to local residents with concerns over noise in a more detailed, transparent and timely way. Aircraft already operate under strict noise regulations and follow specific ‘noise preferential routes’ on departure. Aircraft noise is currently monitored and published in an annual Operations Monitoring Report which enables year by year comparisons to be made. The Tracker system has required the installation of an additional noise monitor on Littleton Hill in Dundry. The new monitor is powered by wind and solar power. The system also takes radar data from air traffic control, providing a complete picture of each flight’s performance. Mike Littleton, Community Relations Manager at Bristol International Airport, said: “Tracker will provide us with a tool to work with operators to optimise procedures and, in future, impose penalties if standards are not met. The significant investment we have made in this system demonstrates how seriously we take our environmental responsibilities.” A recent report by the Institute of Acoustics shows BIA is the third most ‘noise efficient’ airport in the UK (based on the number of passengers carried per person within the Lden 55dB contour used in the production of Noise Action Plans). The same report found BIA has the fourth highest expenditure on noise management per person. BIA’s figures, reported to the Airport Consultative Committee on a quarterly basis, show that 14 complaints were received from 4 individuals in December 2009, during which time 4,587 aircraft movements occurred. The annual total of noise complaints received* has fallen from 448 in 2007 (5.86 per 1,000 aircraft movements) to 361 in 2009 (5.14 per 1,000 aircraft movement). Measures to manage noise from aircraft on the ground and in the air are already being implemented, including limits on the use of Auxiliary Power Units, encouraging Continuous Descent Approaches and incentivising airlines to operate quieter aircraft. Night flying is controlled by a noise quota system. Fresh proposals included in BIA’s recent Draft Noise Action Plan include a review of stand allocation to identify opportunities to reduce the impact of noise from the aircraft parking apron and the installation of fixed electrical ground power. Data from Tracker will not be available live, but can be requested by calling BIA’s noise complaints line (01275 473799), or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Noise complaints received give an indication of a community’s tolerance to noise, but this can vary according to external unrelated factors (such as property values). For example, a spike in noise complaints was received in July 2009 following the high profile submission of a planning application to develop Bristol International Airport, with seven times more complaints received than the previous year despite a fall in the number of aircraft movements.
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