Video: Dani Fiumicelli of Temple Group on noise impacts of transport infrastructure

Dani Fiumicelli, technical director of the environment and planning consultant Temple Group explains the principle behind arguments for a change in assessment of the noise impacts of transport infrastructure.

A large body of industry specialists have come to the view that noise impacts are not assessed correctly, says Dani Fiumicelli, Temple Group’s noise measurement specialist. Speaking at the recent Runways UK event, he explained that current industry practice of measuring average noise levels over a set period, typically a 16 hour day, is generally regarded as satisfactory for assessing comfort levels for airports in a steady state of operations.

However, “when you get change, in terms of more aircraft, or moving planes around, assessing the effects solely in terms of average noise levels fails to register the subtle but really quite significant impacts that come about,” Fiumicelli says.

Assessing noise on the basis of average levels is not giving a true reflection of people’s experience because it fails to pick up on peak affects, he adds. This is creating a lot of concern, not least because it can give the impression that industry is trying to deceive those affected.

"Assessing noise on the basis of average levels is not giving a true reflection of people’s experience because it fails to pick up on peak effects"

The Airports Commission has recommended that a whole suite of noise measurements is used. “The trend now is to also use the number of aircraft flying, where and how long they are flying and other information to give useful contextual information for framing the meaning of average levels,” Fiumicelli says.

While the profession’s aim is to give an honest and true view of noise levels and the impacts of change, the issue of how to do so extends to all transport infrastructure. “But each scheme does take the approach of refining it and using supplementary acoustic and non-acoustic metrics to put this information in context, which is really important,” he adds.

“The Davies report proposes an impressive really quite radical suite of noise measurements, but to be fair a lot of them Heathrow already offers. The airport is offering radically improved noise insulation and appears to be recognising that it needs to engage much more fully with communities.”


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