Sunday, 25 July 2010

Old Sarum Noise Pollution

Yesterday I went to see the beautiful old Sarum. Located on a hilltop north of Salisbury, Old Sarum is the site of the original city, showing evidence of habitation from 3000BC to 1219AD when the bishop relocated Salisbury Cathedral.
Old Sarum 2

I was lucky enough to be there the same time as a tour, so I enjoyed that. Old Sarum 3
Unfortunately a couple of small planes kept flying round in cirles over the ancient monument, so it was rather difficult to hear.
Sarum plane
You can see in the picture and video just how close they flew to us.

Millions of people are disturbed by aircraft nois and it will get worse

Aircraft Noise 71% had heard it
Traffic Noise 84% " "
Neighbour Noise 81% " "

Bothered, annoyed or disturbed by it:
Aircraft Noise 20% bothered to some extent
Traffic Noise 40% " " "
Neighbour Noise 37% " " "
Aircraft Noise 7% bothered moderately
Traffic Noise 22% " " "
Neighbour Noise 19% " " "

Aircraft Noise 2% very or extremely bothered
Traffic Noise 8% " " "
Neighbour Noise 2% " " "

• Figures from the 2001 National Noise Study carried out by the Building Research Establishment (BRE) for DEFRA – the most comprehensive study of recent years.

This survey is for flights carrying people from A to B, the annoying plane above appeared to be flying in circles.

Airportwatch recomend that complaints about noise, or of planes away from set flight paths, complain to the local airport management, in this case Old Sarum Airfield, about a mile away.

Send a copy to the DfT:,, Department for Transport, Great Minster House, 76 Marsham Street, London, SW1P 4DR
Please copy your letter to AirportWatch ( AirportWatch, 2nd Floor, Broken Wharf House, 2 Broken Wharf, London EC4V 3DT

One of the reasons I posted about google maps images yesterday was that I had just been to see Old Sarum. I was in the area as I had been to a meeting about the Equaualities trust, about which more will follow.


Simon said...

Old Sarum castle is located just to the side of the approach and climb out of runway 06/24. Any aircraft using the CAA approved and CAA licenced airfield needs to and is required to fly past the castle.

The aircraft you say were circling the castle were in fact flying in a circuit of the airfield in the prescribed manner as set out in the Air Navigation Order and in the Airfield procedures.

Old Sarum Airfield is the 2nd oldest active airfield in the UK and has been in operation since 1917. The local Council has and still does monitor aircraft noise and the Management at Old Sarum investigate every complaint received.

Old Sarum Airfield is also designated as a conservation area by Salisbury Council.

Your pictures and video will be of interest to many aviation enthusiasts however your attempt at rabble rousing with statistics taken from the briefest of Google searches gives no thought to local information, also available in the public domain and to local agreements with parish councils and residence. Your clear lack of understanding of aviation, the procedures at an airfield and the airfield at Old Sarum weakens you and your argument considerably.

Perhaps a visit to Old Sarum airfield and a flight in a light aircraft might enable you to present a more balanced argument. Failing that, the next time you are jetting off to your summer holiday perhaps you might consider the implications and impact on both people and the environment of your flight in an airliner.

Adrian Windisch said...

I seem to have rattled someones cage. Simon, next time do a bit of research first.

The survey I quote from must be legitimate or you would say so. If you can do better, give a link, as I did to mine.

I am not likely to 'jett off on summer holidays' any time soon as I have not flown for over 10 years. So I am not likely to wish to fly in circles round an ancient monument disturbing those on it. If the authorities insist that all flights go just above Sarum then there is something very wrong.

You say 'perhaps you might consider the implications and impact on both people and the environment of your flight in an airliner.' I do, what about you?

Simon said...

Adrian you do disappoint. If you post on a public blog site which not only allows but encourages comment then you can hardly be surprised and call it “rattling someone’s cage”.

To accuse me of failing to do research is laughable, clear to any reader a baseless counter claim from someone who, as I have already said, has failed to research or to understand the local situation and the practicalities of operating an aircraft.

Given the survey is nearly 10 years old, based entirely on noise at Heathrow in the days of Concorde and speaks to Civil Aviation not General Aviation the survey was neither the cause of my reply or mentioned in it, other than to draw attention to how simplistic and pointless it was using it to add weight to your narrative.

I do not fly in airliners either but I am at least local, vote green, recycle my rubbish and drive a small car. Implications considered and addressed thank you.

My jibe at your use of airlines was unfortunate and I do apologise.

As I am sure you can appreciate the rules pilots operate an aircraft by are there for the safety of the people aboard the aircraft and those on the ground. Operating outside of these rules would be unsafe and illegal regardless of how “very wrong” they may seem.

Allow me to explain.

When an aircraft takes off it needs to climb to a reasonable height before turning, usually 500ft above ground. Any turn lower than this risks a stall / spin from which there would be insufficient height to recover. The end of the runway at Old Sarum is just 1000 meters from Old Sarum castle which would place the aircraft you saw at 400-500ft.

The aircraft in question I have been able to identify and I can tell you with absolute assurance it was not circling the castle as you assert, it was not even ‘in the circuit’ at Old Sarum but was in fact on its way to 13,000ft and would not have been back in your area until ½ an hour after you saw it.

And yet the most important point of all remains a mystery;

Why do people who buy houses or visit places sited next to an active airfield become ‘surprised’ or complain when they hear the noise of…… aircraft?

Adrian Windisch said...

Appology accepted. You still dont site a different survey, in 10 years the newer aircraft are said to be quieter, but there are many more of them. So a survey now would be worse.

You ask why people near an airport are angry at the noise levels. Some people lived in the area before airplanes became so frequent. In the case of Sarum I didn't see the airport when I visited, I only knew it existed when I saw it on google map.

I was not there observing planes, but trying to listen to the tour guide. But every few minutes planes flew past. Possibly there were many planes, not a small number circling, though they looked the same. It appeared that they were aiming to be as close as possible to me, surely not very safe.

You say why they fly at a certain height, but not why they fly over old sarum. If they were 500ft above ground then they would be less than 100ft over old sarum.

I have sent my objections to the airport and the DfT. I will report on any reponse I get.

Simon said...

The survey question is pointless as surveys of this nature tend to be qualitative and draw an emotional response from the respondents, as you well know. I have actual data which shows the airfield is no where near as active as it was in years gone by. This is not qualitative but quantitative data.

It’s all about perspective you think the aircraft are lower than they actually are. As far as safety goes, should an aircraft have an engine failure after take off or even break up in flight no one on the castle is at risk. Regardless of the perspective on the ground aircraft do not overfly the castle and the castle would be the very last place any pilot would wish to land.

Like many green issues when you really get down to the actual facts you can sometimes be very surprised as highlighted by this item in the Times

Simon said...

Sorry that link was truncated.[url][/url]

Adrian Windisch said...

What an amusing article.

You say the aircraft didnt overfly the castle, but I was there, it did. Hence my complaint. See my picture and video.

I do not suggest they wanted to land on old sarum castle, that would be ridiculous.

Simon said...

Sorry I didn't mean to imply they wanted to land on thhe castle. I was refering to a situation where the engine had failed.

The article raises the very serious point that whilst we wish to be green by doing the things we are told are better for the environment in reality it is not always the case. Balance is required.

Global warming is an issue but I didn't hold on to trees in the 80's and 90's for the sake of Global Warming - I did it to protect valuable parts of the environment from being destroyed. The airfield is there because of the flying, without the flying the green space would be long gone and you'd be looking at a housing estate from the top of the castle. A balance.

Simon said...

Sorry I failed to address your point of aircraft overflying the Castle.

Knowing the area as I do the aircraft shown in your images seem to be flying in the normal climb out path from runway 24. As there were clearly a number of different aircraft seen and all were flying in a similar way this would seem to make sense.

The airfield does have an agreement with the castle not to fly directly overhead however student pilots do fly from there so errors may be possible.

Adrian Windisch said...

'As there were clearly a number of different aircraft seen' how do you know this? I was there and cant say how many planes were there.

You say 'The airfield does have an agreement with the castle not to fly directly overhead however student pilots do fly from there so errors may be possible.'

I observed many flights over the castle in a short period. I suggest the students are told in very strong terms to stay away or have their license revoked.