§ Mr. Tierney
asked the Secretary of State for Trade what progress has been made with the scheme under consideration at Birmingham Airport for the payment of grants for the sound insulation of dwellings affected by aircraft noise.
§ Mr. Dell,
pursuant to his reply—[Official Report, 5th June 1976; Vol. 507W 914; c. 373–4], gave the following information:
As the proposed West Midlands County Council Bill, under which the council intended obtaining powers to make these grants, has been stopped, further progress on this matter depends on the promotion of further local or public legislation.
§ Mr. Tierney
asked the Secretary of State for Trade what research his Department has carried out in assessing aircraft noise annoyance, noise insulation of buildings, operational methods of noise control and the effects of aircraft noise on health.
§ Mr. Dell,
pursuant to his reply—[Official Report, 5th June 1976; Vol. 914; c. 373–4], gave the following information:
There has been since the Wilson Committee Report on noise in 1963, a considerable amount of research on the assessment and means of abatement of noise nuisance of all kinds, some of it partly relevant to the problems of aircraft noise and some of it confined to that subject. Much the biggest effort financially has been by the Government and the aircraft building industry on ways of quietening aircraft engines but the matters named in the hon. Member's Question have also been the subject of research and current outlay in such research is running at about £100,000 a year.
On noise annoyance evaluation, there has been one large-scale social survey around Heathrow, several lengthy reports on the methodology involved in compiling, and the weaknesses and strengths of, the NNI index, reports on the relation of such indexes to the incidence of complaints, as well as continuing research in the field in order to compile height profiles and create footprints of the noise made by all types of aircraft. There have also been reports on specific problems, such as the interruption of teaching in schools.
On noise insulation of buildings, work has been and is being done by the Building Research Establishment, financed mainly by the Department of the Environment, although the results are available to the Department of Trade.
On operational noise abatement, there has been significant research on and there 508W is still research in train on such matters as managed drag approach and two segment approach take-off techniques, and the use of minimum noise routes, some of this in co-operation with the Noise Advisory Council.
On the effects of aircraft noise on health, a large-scale project was initiated by my Department in 1972 under the aegis of the Medical Research Council. The results of the first two years' work now available to me are thought to justify a further three years' work to try to secure an unambiguous answer to the question whether, and at what level, aircraft noise has effects on physical and mental health.