Airport Noise regulation: A legal perspective


The world has evolved a lot with time, it began with Industrial revolution to Internet Age, which now has converted world into a small place. Commutation has become easy, people can travel spaces in and around to different arenas bringing use of transportation a lot. Time has taken its toll and made Air Transport most viable to travel far places with ease and comfort and in addition with saving of time to do businesses and vacations. However great things have its disarrays. Air transport has made its headwinds not only by its massive structure but the amount of sound it creates which can be termed as Noise causing pollution in the vicinity. Everything in this world has its positives and negatives so Airport which is constantly buzzing with air traffic causes huge amount of sound not only in Airports but in and around residential areas causing people living in nearby airport areas causing trouble and unease. Petitions have been filed by residents of Vasant Kunj and Bijwasan in South Delhi which is close to Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) in New Delhi. Due to this, National and International regulations have aimed at certifying only quieter aircraft. Moreover, major efforts have been made by aircraft manufacturers to reduce noise at the source and people can insulate their buildings to reduce the effect of noise. Airports can reduce the noise by reducing hours of operation through the use of night curfews; night noise is much more objectionable to the public than day noise. Noisy aircraft can be restricted or even banned. Runways can be selected to limit or spread noise more evenly over the community, and approach and departure routes can be designated over lesspopulated areas. Airlines can also be encouraged to modify approach in order to reduce engine thrust over highly populated areas. The performance of the pilots can be monitored, and offending operators have financial penalties imposed upon them. Usage of land for building airports outside the pursuit of residential areas having hospitals and schools can be adopted and complete ban on usage of land for residential development. Government regulators can approach aircraft manufacturers to build quieter aircrafts so as to reduce the noise footprint. A noise zone area should be developed within targeted radius and ban on residential development should be checked for future development. The impact of civil aviation on the environment is evident which causes public concern about noise, which is the most irritating and most responsible element of the growing opposition to further growth in aviation. Concern about rising aircraft noise levels has been appreciated by the global aviation community. The last decade has seen a dangerous hike in the amount of pollution and the real disaster is yet to be faced by the coming generation as the quality of all the non- renewable natural resources keep on degrading. Noise pollution is never looked to cause much worry but the slow and long-term effects of it have led to nuisance and other health-related problems. Airport noise pollution can be termed as continuous nuisance to people living in surrounding region. It is in the best favour of the people as well as of the environment to reduce and implement laws while building infrastructures in future. There is sufficient evidence of a negative effect of exposure to airplane noise on children’s cognitive abilities, such as reading and memory, as well as on standardized scores on academic tests. Evidence is also emerging to support the insulation of schools that may be exposed to high levels of airplane noise. the effects of airplane noise on children’s learning can cause permanent disabilities. Legal aspects justify the rights not only of people but also takes into consideration of environmental laws. Laws which shall regulate the way Air Industry runs and future decisions can be taken by are: Article 21 of the Constitution of India, which guarantees right to life – a life peaceful without any disturbances and nuisance. Articles 48A and 51A (g) of the Constitution are as under: Article 51 A (g) - “to protect and improve the natural environment including forest, lakes, rivers and wildlife and to have compassion for living creatures”. As environmental concern is need of the hour and as mentioned in article 51A (g) to have compassion for living creatures not only includes humans but also animals. • Indian Penal Code and Noise Control Provisions under Section 268 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, noise is actionable as “public nuisance”. Hence the noise created by continuous traffic in air causes an objectionable offence to public, animals as we as environment. Aircraft Act, 1934 and Noise Control In 1968, at the sixteenth session of the Assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in Buenos Aires, a resolution was adopted to study the problem of noise pollution of the planes which carried detailed study of the noise problem and developed laws in the form of International Standards and Recommended Practices for aircraft noise. ICAO adopted them as an annex 16 of the Convention on International Civil Aviation which says “all aircraft must have noise certification from the authorities of the state of registration of the aircraft based on satisfactory evidence that the aircraft meets the requirements that are at least equal to the applicable standards specified in the Annexure 16”.India is a member state of ICAO and has therefore accepted the noise specifications in the annexure 16 for implementation in India. • Indian Aircraft Act, 1934 Under this act causing intentional damage or injury is actionable. Although there is no specific provision related to the control of aircraft noise pollution, but under the standard, the powers confirmed by Sec. 8 (A) of the Aircraft Act of 1934 and its replacement of the Aeronautics rules India (Public Health), 1946. The government can establish rules to control noise pollution to safeguard health. • Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000 On February 14, 2000, the Union Government promulgated the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules 2000 in the exercise of its power conferred by the Environment (Protection) Act 1986 to control the increase in the level of environmental noise in public places from various sources. Rule 5 of the Noise Rules 2000 restricts the use of loudspeakers / public address system. Rule 5 was amended in 2010 to restrict the use of sound production equipment as well. In all these cases, written permission is required to use such equipment in festivals and occasion. • The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981 and Noise Control Before the 1987 amendments to the 1981 Air Act, the Act did not include noise pollution regulation in its range. But after the 1987 amendments, the noise has been recognized as an air pollutant. Amendment Sec. 2 (a) now defines ‘air pollutant’ as ” mean any solid liquid or gaseous substance including noise present in the atmosphere in such concentration as may be or tend to be injurious to human beings or other living creatures or plants or property or environment. ” Therefore, the 1987 Amendment to the Air Law now specifically extends the provision of the Air Law, including increasing sanctions on citizens and issuance of precautionary measures by Magistrates, to control noise pollution. CASE LAWS Kirori mal bishamber vs The State the accused was sentenced under section 290 of Indian penal code, 1860 and was fined Rs 50 for causing noise and emitting smoke and vibration by operating heavy machines in residential area. Bhuban Ram and Ors vs Bibhuti Bhushan Biswas (AIR 1919 Calcutta 539), it was held that paddy husking machine at night causes nuisance by noise and the occupier was held liable to be punished under section 290 IPC Burrabazar fireworks dealers Association vs commissioner of Calcutta it has been held that a citizen or people cannot be made a captive listener to hear the tremendous sounds caused by bursting out from noisy firecracker. It may give pleasure to one or two person who burst it others have to be a captive listener whose fundamental rights guaranteed under article 19 and other provision of constitution are taken away, suspended and made meaningless. Under article 19 read with Article 21 the citizen have right of decent environment and they have a right to live peacefully right to sleep at night and to have a right to leisure which re all necessary under the article 21 of the Indian constitution. CONCLUSION The nuisance due to aircraft carriers has been recognized by policy makers as a harmful effect that should be avoided and reduced. Noise should be reduced at the source like engine nois and reducing noise by adjusting take-off and landing procedures, but these measures are not always sufficient or feasible. Insulating buildings may not reduce nuisance levels when associated with poor indoor air quality. Public authorities should try to perceive some truthful measures and implement policies for safeguarding people’s life and environmental concern.

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