Right to Quiet Society Noiseletter
Spring 2011 – page 2

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Aircraft noise study

The German newspaper Darmstaedter Echo reported last December about the initiation of a large-scale study of traffic noise, particularly air traffic around the Frankfurt airport, to be carried out over at least the next five years. It is considered to be the most comprehensive study of the effects of noise in Europe so far. To finance it, the State of Hesse will contribute five million Euros and the airport operator Fraport one million Euros. There are concerns though that the inclusion of traffic noise other than that of air traffic will “blur” the lines and not give a clear picture of the sources of noise and their impact. Meanwhile, the Frankfurt airport continues to grow, with ever more runways added.

On Nov. 16, 2010, Newton-North Delta (British Columbia) Member of Parliament Sukh Dhaliwal issued a press re-lease to announce that “the House of Commons Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities passed a motion to study the consequences of noise caused by airport operations in urban areas. It will hold public meetings to hear from witnesses in affected communities, department officials and experts.” Right to Quiet recently called Mr. Dhaliwal’s office to inquire about the progress of that Standing Committee’s endeavour and was referred to Health Canada.

Following is part of what we found on Health Canada’s website regarding aircraft noise. There is more information on different pages of that website, though nothing comprehensive or “conclusive” as yet. Meanwhile, studies from other jurisdictions clearly show that aircraft noise, especially in the vicinity of airports, has a detrimental impact on human health.

In our Winter 2006 and Fall 2007 NOISE-Letter, we reported about the health risks noise poses, particularly aircraft noise.

Jet aircraft are one of the most disturbing sources of noise in our environment. People who live in communities near airports have become increasingly concerned about potential health effects from aircraft noise.

For detailed scientific information about the potential health effects associated with aircraft noise on the Health Canada website, peruse the following important links below:

It's Your Health: Aircraft Noise in the Vicinity of Airports
(This transcript discusses the human health effects of noise generated by low level military flights in Labrador-Goose Bay).

Noise from Civilian Aircraft in the Vicinity of Airports - Implications for Human Health, 2001
(This report provides detailed arguments and conclusions on the potential for high levels of aircraft noise to be linked to stress and cardiovascular disease).

Pearson International Airport - Toronto
(This transcript discusses the potential human health effects based on the proposal to have three new runways constructed at Toronto's Pearson International Airport).

For information on what Health Canada does to protect Canadians in this area click Acoustics

To make an inquiry regarding aircraft noise click Consumer and Clinical Radiation Protection Bureau


Noise complaints prompt city to look at changing bylaw

By Simone Blais
Shhhh ... Port Coquitlam residents may have to keep a lid on sound from heat pumps and other exterior units, as the city entertains changes to its noise bylaw. Council unanimously approved the first three readings of amendments to its noise control bylaw Monday, Feb. 28, making way for firm limits on the decibel (dB) levels that can be emitted before sound is officially deemed a disturbance. According to corporate services director Mindy Smith's report, the bylaw is enforced upon complaint and three main issues arose prompting a review of the existing bylaw, which has been in effect since 1994. The bylaw amendments would limit sound from heat pumps and similar devices to typical North American standards, which are considered to be 50 dB during the day and 45 dB at night at the property line or the perceived point of reception.

Dan Scoones, the city's bylaw and licensing manager, said Port Coquitlam received six complaints about noise from heat pumps in the last year, and as people look for ways to save on heat, the city could anticipate more in future. The loudest ones can emit 75 dB at the source, he said, but when properly housed, the sound can be


mitigated down to 60 to 65 dB. That's where location of the heat pump or air conditioner on the property plays a factor, he said. "Sound tends to fall off quite quickly," Scoones explained. "So if you baffle the sound and have 12 to 18 feet of free space on each side, they tend to work quite well."

The complaints can be "difficult and stubborn," he said, adding that individuals subjectively measure sound, mak-ing noise regulations difficult to enforce. Scoones cited a civil court case in Coquitlam between two neighbours who could not agree on the noise from an air conditioner. Ultimately, the judge imposed decibel level limits similar to those enacted in Toronto bylaws, and Scoones said the ruling indicated "how much better it would be if the city had a bylaw" with limits attached. "We took that as a cue to move," he said. Coun. Glenn Pollock thanked Scoones for his work on the bylaw revisions, noting the research that went into the draft to ensure that the city "looked at this from all angles." Mayor Greg Moore suggested the city consider educating the public on the potential changes, sending the sound limits to heat pump installers so they are aware of the city's rules.

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