Cambuslang Community Council has registered concerns and objections at the new flightpaths proposed by Glasgow Airport which will involve concentrating southbound aircraft (using one of the two runways) into narrow air corridors crossing Rutherglen and parts of Cambuslang – with the potential for significant new noise disturbance at peak times such as early in the morning. The CCC submission is here and reproduced below.
CONSULTATION ON NEW FLIGHT PATHS – RESPONSE BY CAMBUSLANG COMMUNITY COUNCIL
Cambuslang Community Council (CCC) is a statutory body established to represent the views of the community of Cambuslang with government authorities and other bodies. We have discussed the proposals for new flight paths at CCC meetings and requested feedback via our website, the local newspaper and social media. This consultation response is based on the views expressed.
According to the consultation documents, two new flight paths would affect our community as follows.
The first, referred to as FLEMN in the consultation document, would run directly over Rutherglen and be used by an estimated 53% of the air traffic departing from Runway 05 when it is in use. This is said to involve up to four flights an hour (on average) between 6.00 and 22.30. The area affected locally would extend into western parts of Cambuslang such as Eastfield, Silverbank and Whitlawburn.
The second flight-path, GALGA, would cross Cambuslang to the east. This would be used for night-time traffic departing Glasgow Airport between 23.00 and 6.00 and involve up to one flight an hour.
According to the consultation document, aircraft passing over Cambuslang would be climbing to about 4,000-6,000 ft. Depending on the aircraft type this would involve noise in the range 60-75 decibels.
The proposals would represent a significant change on the current flight-path arrangements which show a much greater distribution of flight paths over a wide area – thereby affecting a larger number of residents in the Glasgow region but with a lesser impact on any one area or group of people. Our main concern is that the new proposals would concentrate aircraft flight paths into a much smaller area (in Rutherglen/Cambuslang for FLEMN and GALGA), affecting residents under the flight paths to a much greater extent.
We have a further concern: the time-averaged noise metrics presented in the consultation document do not fully take into account air traffic frequency and rush hour noise factors which are likely to lead to adverse effects in the form of noise disturbance.
The consultation states that FLEMN is predicted to handle an average of four flights an hour between 06.00 and 22.59 through the year. However, we also note that when Runway 05 is in use, FLEMN will handle 53% of the southbound traffic, including “most of the jets in the morning rush” (when there may be 11-14 departures an hour from Glasgow Airport). We therefore anticipate much greater traffic via FLEMN than the stated annual average, for example early in the morning, when Runway 05 is in use – and the associated potential noise disturbance. Further, we note the projected increase in traffic of up to 6% per year which has the potential to double the number of flights by 2029.
In this regard, the February 2017 UK House of Commons Briefing Note on aircraft noise warned against placing excessive reliance on time-averaged metrics i.e. LAeq,16h etc. While these metrics are the ones most closely correlated with health and well-being, it was recognised by the HoC that the effect of noise frequency may be important even if the LOAEL is not exceeded.
We understand the motivations for the proposed changes in terms of efficiency of aircraft movement on the ground and in the air, as well as fuel economy. However, this will clearly be at the expense of the people of Rutherglen and Cambuslang who will suffer a much greater concentration of aircraft noise during some periods.
We therefore urge Glasgow Airport strongly:
- to provide accurate information on the actual variation in daily/weekly usage of the flightpaths to ensure that the public under the flightpaths have a realistic understanding of noise disturbance at different times of the day; and
- to modify their proposals to ensure greater distribution in the routing of aircraft across a wider area, reducing the impact on Rutherglen and Cambuslang.
Cambuslang Community Council, 2 April 2018