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Evidence based legislation? Adequate protection of EU citizens against aircraft noise – Discussion of current scientific knowledge on aircraft noise with respect to EU legislation concerning noise protection

Franziska Heß and Martin Führ

elni Review 2016, Issue 1, pp. 26-32. https://doi.org/10.46850/elni.2016.004

This article focuses on air noise protection in European law. The consideration of legal implications is based on a meta study (synopsis) of scientific research on aircraft noise-induced health impairments, annoyance and learning disorders. The synopsis concludes that the association of noise with an increased incidence of chronic arterial hypertension has been shown in large-scale epidemiological studies and reproduced with sophisticated methodology. It is therefore considered scientifically confirmed. In addition to hypertension, the relationship between aircraft noise and the risk of myocardial infarctions as well as strokes has been discussed. Based on recent epidemiological studies the relationship can also be considered scientifically confirmed. However, with regard to heart failure an association is very likely, but not enough studies are available to allow a definite statement. 
By reviewing the current studies, the authors held that legally standardized immission limit values for aircraft noise exposure must be provided in order to protect residents in the vicinity of airports. From the available studies an upper limit of 50 dB(A) for Lden as a 24 h value and 45 dB(A) for Lnight are to be derived to avoid annoyance, cognitive constrictions and health impairments. To avoid sleeping disorder at night, an 8 hour period without noise is required.

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