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Barrow Gurney Parish Council

Aircraft noise and airport growth

16 October 2019

The Parish Council has noted the concerns raised about the increase in aircraft noise experienced during the last few months by many people in the Barrow Gurney community. We would like to thank Jan Kershaw-Salmon in particular for her efforts to extract information from the airport about why this may be occurring. 

The PC, through the Barrow Gurney Clerk, has also raised the issue of increased aircraft noise on more than one occasion in recent months and has received similar reassurances, in particular that there has been no alteration to flight paths during the last 12 months. However some concerns over increased aircraft noise remain, and the fact that so many people have raised the issue during recent weeks does suggest that we need to continue to take note of specific occurrences. The only explanation offered by the airport that could explain at least some of the increase in noise is the rise in easterly winds this year requiring considerably more aircraft to take off in an easterly direction, which does generate more noise in the village and its immediate surroundings than the usual westerly take off. The figures suggest that about 15% of aircraft took off in an easterly direction this year as opposed to 10% last year: so a 50% increase, even if it is still a small minority of the total number of flights.

For this reason we suggest that any residents with concerns should log particular incidents they consider to be unusual, for example:

  • in terms of excessive aircraft noise or unusual flight paths, by noting the exact time, route of aircraft etc. and email those directly to Andy Robbins who will check the details and record any infringements (andyrobbins50@btinternet.com);
  • in terms of unusually high occurrences of traffic passing through the village (time, length of queues etc.). Email these to Nick Tyrrell, who will collate all relevant information (nick.tyrrell3@btinternet.com);
  • in terms of HGVs in excess of the 7.5 ton weight limit passing through the village (note the date, time, registration plate or company name, and preferably take a photograph). Contact the company direct and/or email to Nick Tyrrell, who will collate and make contact or take action where possible.

However, our greatest concern, as a Parish Council at present, is the proposal to increase the passenger throughput of the airport from the current figure of about 8,500ppa to 12,000ppa, which could obviously lead not only to further noise intrusion but also to more traffic passing through the parish en route to the Airport, more car parking in the Green Belt and wider environmental concerns, notably a significant rise in CO2 emissions from both cars and aircraft. The PC and the Parish Councils Airport Association (PCAA) have both submitted strong objections to North Somerset Council and we await their decision on the planning application, which is anticipated shortly (the "latest date" for determination - the end of September - has already passed). If the application is refused by NSC it is likely that it will be “called in” by the Secretary of State for final determination. Should this be the case we will need to put together the strongest possible body of evidence that further expansion of the airport will have significant and damaging impacts upon local residents.

Once the planning application for the airport expansion has been determined by NSC, we will ask for a meeting with Bristol Airport to discuss continuing community concerns. Dependent on the outcome, we can then consider how best to take matters forward.

Yours sincerely,

Barrow Gurney Parish Council 

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