TAG Aviation Section 106 environmental monitoring - movements and noise

TAG Aviation have supplied details of how they intend to comply with the Section 106 agreement environmental monitoring - movements and noise.

The Section 106 was agreed behind the back of the committee. This is the first opportunity the committee, let alone the public, has had of considering the agreement.

The report submitted by TAG is fantasy in terms of their current operation - a wish list of what they may do, but by no stretch of the imagination resembling their current operation. Before the report by TAG is considered by the council TAG should be obliged to demonstrate over a reasonable period, say at least three months, they can deliver what they are promising in their report.

The local community has no confidence in the integrity or honesty of either TAG or Rushmoor. Monitoring by TAG, data shared only with the council, is NOT acceptable. If there is to be any confidence in the monitoring it has to be by independent third parties with the data made available to the local community to enable the local community to carry out its own verification. Anything less is completely unacceptable.

Movement records, flight tracking and noise monitoring should be tied to very accurate clocks (at least 0.1 second) to enable accurate correlation between noise incidents, tracking and recording of flights. Aircraft are coming into Farnborough with a separation of one minute or less.

There should be strong penalties for breaches of agreed operating conditions. These penalties should be punitive, not a token penalty that is absorbed as part of operating costs.

The TAG report does not show the noise contours that the monitoring is referenced to. These should be submitted before the council considers the TAG report.

The noise contours TAG may be referring to are those submitted with their original planning application. These are at best an educated guess. TAG have had at least two years of operation, more than sufficient time to enable a correlation with the noise contours predicted by their model and the actuality on the ground. Has this been done, if yes, why no information submitted with the TAG report, if not, why not?

There is a growing body of research evidence of the effect noise, in particular aviation noise, has on the learning ability of children and on the physical and mental health of those in the affected areas. To date none of this evidence has been considered by the council.

Before the report is considered further, evidence should be obtained (to date the council has produced none) on the effects of noise on the local community.

There is a growing body of research evidence that the current methodology of monitoring aviation noise is meaningless and bears little resemblance on the effects on those who have to endure it. See for example the evidence presented to the Heathrow Terminal 5 Inquiry. Why has none of this evidence been placed before the committee?

Consideration of the report should be deferred until the report is published on noise monitoring at Belfast Airport as it may change the ground rules for noise monitoring.

The norm for Rushmoor, there has been the usual failure to notify those affected.

All received comments should be placed before councillors, not a distorted misrepresentation by planning officials acting on behalf of the developer. Anything less will be seen as maladministration by the council.

Failure to place received comments before councillors will be treated as a breach of the Human Rights Act.


In addition to the details TAG are offering to record, they should also show who is the prime contractor or client for the flight.

TAG may try to claim confidentiality. The flights are visible on the ground, the control tower radio communication can easily be intercepted, and this information is regularly posted on the websites of aviation enthusiasts.

The local community has to suffer the nuisance, therefore the local community has every right to know who is causing the nuisance.

The tables should should show a cumulative total of movements to enable it to be immediately apparent that the movements limit is about to be breached or has been breached.

All this information should be made available to the public via a website. The data on the website should be automatically updated after each take off or landing.

Data should be retained for a period of at least ten years.

TAG should be obliged to demonstrate for a period of at least three months that their record keeping is acceptable before the report is considered by the committee.


It is physically and theoretically impossible to draw two dimensional noise contours from a single zero dimensional monitoring point. To claim otherwise is to engage in deceit.

To monitor a stationary constant noise source would require sampling at a large number of points, conversely a moving noise source would require a large number of sampling points.

To a rough approximation, two dimensional noise contours can be drawn by the use of four strategically placed monitoring points, with interpolation between the points, and ideally a roving point to tackle any anomalies or hot spots.

To draw the noise contours TAG should have four strategically placed monitoring points, plus a roving point for anomalies and hot spots. Aircraft tracking data would form a check on the accuracy of the interpolation. This system to be replicated at either end of the main runway. Anything less would be a fraud.

Noise contours should be based on TAG's operation at the beginning of their tenure and progressively reduced over the next ten years. The amount of reduction each year should be specified and penalties imposed for non-compliance. The situation to be reviewed after ten years (cf Manchester). The local community should see a progressive reduction in noise not an increase. The local community should reap the benefit of quieter aircraft, not TAG with more movements. Heavy penalties for non-compliance.

Limits on peak noise should be set and this limit progressively reduced over the next ten years. Penalties for non-compliance. There should also be a limit on the frequency of the peaks in any one hour and any one day. Penalties for non-compliance.

Aircraft are currently routinely using reverse thrust on landing. TAG should be obliged to demonstrate for a period not less than three months that reverse thrust is not in widespread use.

Aircraft should reduce maximum thrust after takeoff. Currently they continue on maximum thrust after takeoff causing maximum noise nuisance. There are no controls on this in the Section 106 agreement. Why?

The extremely noisy turbo-prop aircraft should be phased out with immediate effect.

The preferred noise routes shown by TAG are fictitious. They are currently not adhering to these routes. TAG should be forced to demonstrate compliance for a period not less than three months before their report is considered.

The ILS is either malfunctioning (it is extremely sensitive to beam distortion and was turned off during the Airshow) or pilots are ignoring it.

The turn on takeoff over south Farnborough and North Camp is NOT acceptable. This maximises the number of people exposed to noise.

The right turn over Farnborough on takeoff invalidates the noise contours published by TAG when they submitted their outline planning application, and invalidates their risks contours, both of which assume a projection from the centre line of the runway.

Engine testing, running etc, should only take place within the hours of operation of the airport. Such activities should not take place outside the hours of operation of the airport.

APUs are a source of noise on the airfield.

There should be a ban on the use of APUs (auxiliary power units), only GPUs (ground power units) should be permitted. The use of APUs is a cost cutting exercise by TAG where their profit is put before the needs of the local community.

TAG should be required to demonstrate that they have restricted the hours of operation of testing as detailed above and stopped using APUs for a period of at least three months before the council considers their report. In the interim, the use of APUs should be restricted to the hours of airport operation and not used outside of airport operating hours.

Monitoring by TAG is not acceptable. The monitoring should be via an independent body with a live feed to both the council and TAG. The data should also be displayed on a web site.

Data should be retained for a period of at least ten years.

The complaints procedure should be advertised weekly in the local press. There should be a Freephone, 0800 number, for complaints. Complaints should be acknowledged within 5 days and the problem resolved within 10.

A website should record all complaints and the remedial action taken. This enables the local community to independently monitor the situation.

Penalties should be imposed if the number of complaints prove excessive, or remedial action is not taken to deal with complaints.

Noise monitoring should cover all noise TAG are the source of. The last two summers local residents have had to endure night and day unacceptable levels of noise as TAG carry out runway construction/maintenance work.

Planning documents

This document



Keith Parkins, Objections to Inspector's Report on Rushmoor Local Plan (Farnborough Airfield), August 2000

Keith Parkins, Objections to TAG Planning Application (Farnborough Airfield), September 2000

Nupul Agrawal and John Napier, Fight or flight?, The Ecologist, October 2002

J S Greig, Increase in aircraft noise is proving to be intolerable, letters, Surrey Advertiser, 26 November 1999

Health Council of the Netherlands, Assessing noise exposure for public health purposes, Health Council of the Netherlands, 1997

Health Council of the Netherlands, Public health impact of large airports, Health Council of the Netherlands, September 1999

New review over airport noise, BBC News on-line, 28 August 2002

The author of this report has held a post-doctoral research fellowship at ISVR, widely regarded worldwide as the leading authority and foremost research organisation in the field of noise and vibration. The author's unit dealt with the human affects of noise and vibration. As a local resident the author is able to observe at first hand the unacceptable level of noise that this application imposes on the local community.
Surrey-Hants ~ Farnborough ~ Farnborough Airfield ~ Inspector's report ~ Rushmoor modifications to Local Plan ~ TAG planning application ~ TAG condx 16 & 17
(c) Keith Parkins 2002 -- October 2002 rev 1