Robin Hood Airport- Noise As reported at the last Parish Council Meeting, this matter had been raised by the Parish Council Chairman, Gordon Brown, to be discussed at the Bassetlaw District Council’s Parish Council Liaison Group Meeting to be held on 6th November. The following is the report which was produced on the night by Environmental Health department. It was also agreed that the Bassetlaw representative on the Airport Consultative Committee, Cllr Izzard should be asked to attend the next Liaison Group Meeting. In the meantime it is critical that all residents report excessive noise to the airport hotline or via email – details of which are shown at the end of this article. The Parish Council will continue to pressurise the appropriate bodies to put adequate controls in place. Gordon Brown, Chairman, Mattersey Parish Council Legal Position Noise arising from the operation of commercial airports is controlled by conditions applied through its planning permission. (Aircraft noise is specifically exempted from action under the Environmental Protection Act, which prevents Environmental Health taking any statutory noise nuisance action) The airport is situated within Doncaster MDC’s district so the Planning Authority responsible is Doncaster, rather than Bassetlaw. An Airport Noise Monitoring Sub Committee exists, consisting mostly of officers and Councillors from Doncaster, but including a representative from Bassetlaw Environmental Health. The committee exists to challenge and recommend but has no legal power to enforce against the airport (that is the Planning Authority’s role) As Bawtry is situated immediately to the south of the runway and bears the brunt of the noise from aircraft movements in the south, the interests of Bassetlaw residents are well represented by the Bawtry Councillors. Noise Controls As part of the Planning permission, the airport has adopted a Quiet Operations Policy, the parts of this policy which mainly impact on Bassetlaw residents are as follows. Restrictions on training Preferential Runway Use – preferred take to the north and landing from the north. Noise Preferential Routings – minimising the over-flying of built up areas. Night Flying Policy limiting operations at night by the noisiest aircraft, including a penalty scheme. The operation of a noise-monitoring scheme. Operating a sound insulation Grant Scheme. Maintaining a public noise complaint handling service. More Detail. Restrictions on Training- at night, on Sundays and Bank Holidays. Preferential Runway Use – To and from the north, but is subject to weather conditions, safety requirements, air traffic requirements, aircraft performance and approach aid limitations. Effectively, there are many reasons why all aircraft cannot always use the preferred runways, but approximately 70 % currently do. Noise Preferential Routings.-These are published in the UK Air Pilot and all pilots using the airport are, therefore, made fully aware. The routes are corridors (a 3km swath) rather than an absolute fixed track, and currently approximately 95% of aircraft are on track. Reasons why aircraft may stray off the preferred route include weather conditions (wind will tend to push aircraft off route) the loading of the aircraft or air traffic safety considerations. “Track performance” may however, improve in future. Currently aircraft landing from the north have the benefit of an instrument landing system (which automatically lands the aircraft), a similar system is to be installed for aircraft landing from the south, and it is likely that aircraft will then be able to follow a more precise route. An aircraft tracking system is also planned (but has been delayed for technical reasons), which will allow real time monitoring of the aircraft route. This will enable the airport operator to ensure that airlines and their pilots are following the preferential routes and take any enforcement action if necessary. Also, residents will have more confidence that correct routes are being followed. Night Flying Policy. - A Quota Count Point System similar to that in use at Heathrow, Stanstead and Gatwick is in place. This effectively prevents the use of the noisiest aircraft at night. In addition, a Night Noise Sanctions Scheme is in place which will financially penalise aircraft operators who exceed night time noise limits. Noise Monitoring Scheme – Aircraft noise is monitored from two fixed stations north and south of the airport. In addition, the airport has a mobile monitoring station available for use in outlying locations. It will be sited in various villages for at least a month at a time (to enable a representative sample to be obtained), locations will in due course include villages within Bassetlaw. Sound insulation Grant Scheme – The scheme will fund noise insulation works to the dwellings most effected by noise, in reality, these will be very close to the airport and will not extend into Bassetlaw. Complaints Procedure- Residents can complain by telephone, letter or e-mail, and are encouraged to leave details of time, date etc. The airport will then investigate the complaint and write back to the complainant. Complaints are reported to the Noise Monitoring Sub Committee at each meeting. Most complaints were received during the opening months of operation. 50% of all complaints arise from Bawtry residents (mainly relating to aircraft landing form the south). Bassetlaw generates approximately 1 to 2% of all complaints. Aircraft movements are likely to increase as the airport develops, but the noise generated by individual aircraft may fall as older noisier aircraft are phased out of the airline fleets. (For example, the noisier 737-200 series aircraft that originally operated at Robin Hood Airport have now been replaced by quieter types). The following is an extract from the Robin Hood Airport website Noise Robin Hood Airport acknowledges that noise remains the impact of greatest concern for local residents to Robin Hood Airport. Robin Hood Airport have developed a Public Noise Complaints procedure as approved by the Local Planning Authority to handle, monitor, investigate and report each complaint lodged by members of the public. Lodging a Complaint There is a 24 hour answering service to lodge a complaint: 01302 623623 or, write to: Environment & Community Manager Robin Hood Airport Heyford House First Avenue Doncaster DN9 3RH firstname.lastname@example.org INVESTIGATION All complaints are immediately logged onto a standard proforma and once the data has been gathered, the Environment Co-ordinator shall examine what was happening with regard to: • The Airfield • The flying operations on the date of the complaint • The weather conditions and • Examination of the output form the Noise Monitoring and Track Keeping System REPORTING 1. The Environment Co-ordinator will respond to the complainant in writing as soon as practical and within one month of the initial complaint being made, explaining the finding of the investigation and any actions taken. 2. Monthly reports will be delivered to Doncaster Metropolitan Council and quarterly reports to the Noise Sub Committee and Airport Consultative Committee. Also, a digest will be produced for the Community Sub Group. The noise will also be reported in the Annual Report by Robin Hood Airport that is made publicly available.