The first encounter with local communities and other stakeholders took place in Gavà, Spain, where yet another ANIMA dissemination event was organised. This event was hosted by the Municipality of Gavà and its aim was to enhance stakeholder engagement. The event opened up dialogue on several topics, such as land use planning, quality of life, noise measurement, noise impact management and the European regulatory framework on aviation noise. While different perspectives contributed to the topics, the event proved to be the right medium for encouraging the stakeholders to work together towards a shared vision, one of mitigating and reducing the impact of aviation noise.
Aviation noise is one of the main challenges hindering the development of aviation, and it affects millions of citizens around Europe. As a result, airport residents in particular, and aviation stakeholders in general, have vast expectations when it comes to related research.
European funds are dedicated to this important topic through different projects, the most innovative one being the ANIMA project. It is novel in the sense that it puts emphasis on both the noise management and the affected communities. Having this particularity in mind, the project was presented today to local stakeholders in Spain, such as local authorities, airports, airport operators, researchers, academia and residents. It was a great opportunity for them to engage with the ANIMA partners, with European intergovernmental organisations and with noise researchers, especially because the event was organised in such a way that it allowed for interaction: the day started with a general session that comprised presentations on the state of play of the aviation noise research sector and it ended with three roundtable discussions via which stakeholders were able to approach the speakers directly on noise-related aspects.
As for the highlights of the event, the contribution of the ANIMA project coordinator, Laurent Leylekian (ONERA, the French Aerospace Laboratory), must be noted. He explained the immediate operational interest of the project: “Aircraft are more silent than ever, and there is little hope that aircraft will be completely silent in the near future. Moreover, nuisance is also perceived more strongly than ever. This means that the noise management needs to be improved. We need interdisciplinary teams to solve this issue: it is important to join efforts between acousticians, aircraft and motor manufacturers, sociologists and spatial planners”. Another moment to keep in mind was when Léa Bodossian (ARC – European association of airport regions) emphasised that “the experience across Europe shows that the solutions are less and less technological and are increasingly coming from improved governance and coordination between airports, airport stakeholders and residents”. With regard to the Mayor of Gava, Raquel Sanchez, she pointed out that “the municipalities near major airports need more support from the European institutions to avoid local arbitrariness in the assessment of noise pollution that affects the quality of life of our neighbours. And the economic and legal aid that must be returned to the affected territories need to be clarified”.
In brief, this event underlined the importance of addressing the concerns of the local communities and efficiently interacting with them. We are grateful to the municipality of Gava for their support in the event organisation and to the speakers who contributed to this event, making this first encounter with local stakeholders a productive one.