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People living near airports [What Europe does for you]

With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for people living near airports.

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Air traffic in the EU is rising, with 973 million passengers carried in 2016. Despite aircraft being 75% less noisy now than 30 years ago, they are still a major noise source. Studies suggest that living close to an airport may lead to health problems like heart disease and strokes, sleep disturbance, stress or hearing impairment.

If you live near an airport, you will be pleased to know that the EU is taking this problem seriously. According to its general rules on environmental noise, authorities must inform the public about the impacts of noise pollution and consult on planned measures. The EU has also adopted specific legislation establishing a clear procedure for the introduction of noise-related operating restrictions at its airports, with more involvement of local communities. Its aim is to balance air transport needs with those of airport neighbours, by lowering noise levels through the use of modern aircraft, better land-use planning, quieter ground operations and restrictions on night-time flying. The EU has also helped to limit noise by introducing common rules on civil aviation, and rules for the environmental certification of aircraft, as well as by regulating the operation of certain aeroplanes.

Finally, the EU co-finances research projects on issues such as innovative methodologies and technologies for reducing aircraft noise (IMAGE), aviation noise impact management through novel approaches (ANIMA), environmental impacts at airport level (CLAIRPORT), aircraft noise reduction technologies (ARTEM) or lower aircraft noise with new engines (ENOVAL).

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