From the start 2021 and during the pandemic in general, noise complaints dramatically reduced, however, we did continue to receive complaints. The majority of those were from frequent complainers.
When the period of 2021 is looked at as a whole the number of complaints is 517, and the total number of complainants was 78 , however the top 5 complainants were responsible for 375 or 72.5% of the complaints received in 2021. One frequent complainant made 234 complaints which accounted for 45% of all complaints made during 2021.
The table below provides data on complaints v complainants per month over the preiod 2018 - 2021 inclusive. It provides you with an overview of the number of complainants contacting Edinburgh Airport over that period. As you can see from the graph below, despite a significant reduction in operations during 2020/2021 due to the world wide COVID pandemic, complaints from our frequent complainants continued in a similar pattern to previous years.
During the summer months we saw an increase in complaints in relation to touring helicopter movements which were not related to helicopters arriving or departing from Edinburgh Airport
Although we have no control over these operations we do respond to the enquirer, providing them with information on the operation such as the call sign and the airfield it was flying to and from. We also, as a courtesy provide information on where next to contact to attempt to resolve the issues they are experiencing.
As the Aviation sector starts to recover and air traffic movements increase slowly towards pre pandemic levels, we expect that noise enquiries will start to increase significantly, not only from regular or frequent complainers but also from other sources, and for a variety of reasons such as:
- Householders who have moved to new areas and new builds during the Pandemic not realising they live below a current flight path for EDI
- Householders who are now working from home having previously worked in an office and were therefore not aware of daytime operations
- Those newly suffering from ill health may now be more sensitive to noise and notice an increase without realising this is a return to normal operations
- Householders who have become acclimatised to low back ground levels from all sources, road, rail and industrial noise, may find the addition of increasing noise levels from all sources including aviation as the straw that breaks the camels back, and complaints are likely
- The Airspace Change Programme (ACP) has restarted and I would expect that, as during the last ACP programme, complaints and enquiries will increase significantly as the public start to think about noise, changing flight paths and how it may impact them and their properties personally