Noise pollution underestimated in aviation cost-benefit analysis: Health Services
Noise pollution from air traffic is seriously underestimated in research into the costs of aviation, health service umbrella organization GGD GHOR Nederland said in an "urgent appeal" to Minister Mark Harbers of Infrastructure. New national guidelines for such research only take account of air traffic noise if it exceeds 50 decibels on average over an entire year. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends 45 decibels at day and 40 at night, Trouw reports.
According to the GGDs, air traffic noise causes "serious nuisance and sleep disturbance even at the WHO limit values." And that entails health risks.
The social cost-benefit analysis guideline was drafted by research agency SEO. It chose to only count noise pollution from 50 decibels as a cost item because there is no scientifically substantiated method for translating noise below that limit into monetary amounts. Further research needs to be done, it said.
But the GGDs disagree. According to the health services, United Kingdom research years ago established a method for monetizing sound, which the British government already uses. And there is no reason not to use this method in the Netherlands. Not doing so means that a large part of aviation noise pollution will remain invisible economically, they wrote to Harbers.
According to Trouw, this is not the first time SEO's social cost-benefit analysis method has been criticized. Other critics have called the method "aviation-friendly" instead of "aviation-specific," pointing out that the conclusion "more flying means more prosperity" is predetermined. According to the critics, the costs of extra travel time are exaggerated, while other costs like noise pollution are underestimated.
As an example, Trouw mentioned Maastrict airport. The SEO method reached a travel time cost item that was five times higher than previous analysis by agency NEO Observatory.