Chris Grayling, the Secretary of State for Transport, announced today that the UK Government has agreed to allow the building of a third runway at Heathrow Airport.
In amongst the details, he included setting aside £2.6billion (!) for compensation to people who live in the area, much of that to cover soundproofing.
I’ve read numerous reports that suggested noise from airports has a negative effect on mental health and cognitive performance of children (see some of the links below). There are associations of poorer physical health outcomes in areas subject to high levels of noise, and the understanding is that the noise interrupts sleep and increases stress levels – both of which have major physical and psychological effects.
The evidence doesn’t seem conclusive, but there’s enough there to make us want to take a long hard look at the health effects of airports in close proximity to homes – enough that we need to start asking if the role of society is to be economically strong or to have the welfare of the people as it’s driving purpose.
At what point do we start demanding less performance for the sake of our own health?