by Arline L. Bronzaft, Ph.D., Board of Directors, GrowNYC, Co-founder, The Quiet Coalition, and Honorary Chair, Quiet American Skies
I am often asked by people impacted by aircraft noise when their local airport will realize that noise from the overhead aircraft is hazardous to their health. I can now answer that there is anairport that has recognized that night-time flights and ground private jets do impose noise on nearby residents and plans to “ban aircraft from taking off between midnight and 6 am and prohibit aircraft from landing between midnight and 5 am.” The airport is Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam. In addition, Schiphol Airport announced it would not be adding another runway and would discourage private planes from using its airport.
We also learn from Mateusz Maszczynski’s article on PYOK.com that the Dutch government asked the airport to slash flights. Furthermore, Schiphol Airport plans to discourage the use of older, noisier aircraft at the Airport.
Now I know it is only one airport that has acknowledged that aircraft noise causes sleep disturbance, which the literature has linked to adverse health effects, and that has acted to reduce aircraft noise. And you can also say it is only one government that has asked for a reduction in flights. But it is a start, and all who have been combating aircraft noise should be pleased with this start.
Now where do we go from here? I believe it is important that the actions that Schiphol Airport and the Dutch government have proposed to limit flights at an airport, which in turn will reduce aircraft noise, need to be shared widely. There are many anti-aircraft noise groups internationally, and I would strongly suggest that they share Maszczynski’s article with their public officials and airport management in their communities. This article should also be sent to all organizations, e.g. local community boards, that may have some voice in noise abatement and the media.
This post was written before the Dutch Court decided to uphold a challenge to the proposal to cut flights. We await to learn more about how this challenge will affect Schiphol’s actions and its desire to curb noise.