AEF and HACAN hosted a well attended event in Parliament this week which explored the relationship between aircraft noise and mental health. The event was chaired by Twickenham MP, Dr Tania Mathias.
Dirk Schreckenberg, from the Centre for Applied Psychology, Environmental and Social Science in Hagen, Germany, provided a summary of the findings of the NORAH study. This major piece of research from around Frankfurt Airport examined a wide range of health impacts associated with aircraft noise before and after a fourth runway was built. The study included ground-breaking research on the links between aircraft noise and depression, and the impacts of a change in noise exposure (associated with expansion or new flight paths) on quality of life and community annoyance. The full presentation can be downloaded using the link at the end of this article.
Also giving presentations were Chris Keady and Heathrow Airport’s Sustainability Director Matt Gorman. Chris Keady, who lives under the Heathrow flightpath and has suffered with depression reflected on how a flight path change had impacted on his wellbeing. Matt Gorman highlighted the steps the airport was taking to provide respite for communities affected by aircraft noise.
We hope that that the seminar provided a useful contribution to the debate on aircraft noise and mental health. We will be continuing our work to push the issue of the health effects of aircraft noise up the agenda this year.