Heliport noise study could help reduce helicopter disturbance
Published: Wednesday 12th July 17
Residents affected by noise from London’s only commercial heliport are being encouraged to help three local councils and a team of academics better understand the impact it has on their lives, the results of which could be used to introduce new rules to curb the disturbance caused by helicopters.
The three boroughs of Wandsworth, Hammersmith & Fulham and Kensington & Chelsea, which are members of the London Heliport Consultative Group, are working with acoustic experts from London’s South Bank University (LBSU) to monitor and assess the noise impact caused by operations at the heliport, which is situated next to the Thames in Battersea.
The aim is to influence policy makers to introduce new rules to curb the noise impacts caused by helicopter movements.
Part of the study involves monitoring noise levels at the homes of volunteers in the three boroughs to show how local communities in this part of the capital are impacted by noise from the heliport.
Other residents can contribute to the study by answering an online questionnaire (available here) about the noise they experience from helicopter activity.
The information will help the LSBU team produce a report in the autumn which will be shared with the three boroughs, the GLA and the Civil Aviation Authority with the aim of assessing noise emissions and their impact on the local community. Once this information has been compiled, the intention is to work with all stakeholders to find a resolution to the problems caused by the loudest flights.
Wandsworth’s environment spokesman Cllr Jonathan Cook said: “The heliport is permitted to handle around 12,000 flights a year as a result of an historic planning agreement which cannot be overturned. Recently the number of movements has come close to the maximum permitted and we know some of the flights do cause noise disturbance for communities on both sides of the river.
“The three boroughs involved in this study are committed to exploring all possible avenues to limit noise nuisance and improve the quality of life of those living nearby who are affected by the sound of helicopters.
“This is this first time a heliport in the UK has been subject to such a detailed level of scrutiny. This initiative will reveal the scale and extent of the disturbance and provide objective, fact-based evidence that can help shape its future operations.”
Dr Stephen Dance, who is leading the LSBU team said: “London has only one commercial heliport, based at Battersea and built in 1959, since when the urban landscape has changed dramatically. The result is that this vertical gateway to the city is now surrounded by housing which presents us with a noise management challenge.”
Dr Luis Gomez-Agustina from the LSBU team added: “This is the first time since the heliport started operations that a complete objective and subjective study on the noise emissions and their impact is going to be undertaken. Results from the study will be crucial in shaping the future of the heliport operation and improving the wellbeing of local residents.”