Brussels, March 6, 2018
In 2014, over 2,5 million people were exposed to noise at 45 major European airports. As air traffic is growing, this number might increase by 15% until 2035 (European Aviation Environmental Report, 2016). Aviation noise impacts health and quality of life and thus generates community reaction, affecting the airports’ ability to grow and hinder subsequent economic growth. Non-acoustical factors play a major role in noise annoyance management and therefore it is necessary to shed light on the topic, making it a priority in the policymakers’ agendas.
The ANIMA project is a people-oriented research project. It aims at identifying and diffusing best practices to lower the noise annoyance endured by communities around airports. The project addresses both acoustical and non-acoustical perspectives and also approaches other aspects, such as quality of life, land-use planning and management and noise mitigation procedures.
ANIMA project coordinator, Laurent Leylekian, stressed the innovative role of the project which focuses on non-acoustical factors impacting aviation noise. In this regard, it differs from already existing H2020 R&D programs that cover the acoustical factors. Philippe Lenne of the DG MOVE acknowledged the concerns of residents living nearby airports, but explained how the European Commission is approaching the issue through the international balanced approach, as aviation is an important catalyst for the broader European economy. Marco Paviotti of DG ENVI emphasised the effect of aviation operation on sleep, which has a direct impact on airport regions residents’ health. Dominique Lazarski of UECNA agreed on the position of DG ENVI and stated that the term ‘annoyance’ from aviation noise is too weak, as it directly impacts the health of the citizens. Mrs. Raquel Sánchez, mayor of the City of Gavà, near Barcelona El Prat Airport, ringed the alarm as residents of airport regions often feel "helpless" due to aviation noise, and their interests might not be properly addressed. She welcomes ANIMA with open arms as the project aims to change this for good. After an interesting debate during which visions were shared and policies explained, MEP Merja Kyllönen closed the event by stressing the importance of dialogue and the need of sharing knowledge and best practices in order to improve the quality of life of 4 million European citizens directly affected by aviation noise in the most efficient way.