Picture of a Jet Engine

Southend Airport’s new runway causing noise hell for local residents

For most of us our home is a place of sanctuary where we can retire after a busy day and relax and unwind, however for pensioner Janet Marchant recent changes to Southend Airport in Essex has left her with passenger jets lining up for take-off just 150ft (45.72m) from her home from 6am to 11pm every single day.

Although Janet has lived in her bungalow, with husband Paul, for seven years there have been no previous issues but she now states that she fears for her health after an airport revamp involving a new runway strip has left her with 50 jets taxiing at the bottom of her garden every day bringing with them constant noise, pollution and a smell of fumes which Janet say is “unbearable” and has made her garden a no-go zone.

Mrs Marchant’s problems began in November 2017 when the airport, which saw around 1.4m passengers passed through in 2018, revamped its Charlie taxiway which Janet says now means the days of barbecues with friends in the garden are over.

She said: “We aren’t against the airport, but this is the most convenient and cheapest option for the airport.

“You can’t have a conversation in the garden with anyone because you can’t hear them.

“When we are inside with the door closed, we have to pause the TV until the plane has gone past.

“We worry about our grandchildren coming around and the enjoyment of having people over for barbecues is ruined.

“I love my garden and used to do a lot of gardening but now it is all spoilt with the noise and the smell.

“My partner’s breathing is now not so good and my neighbours say they can’t sit outside or open their windows at certain times of the day.

“Yesterday there were about 10 that went past, and one was sat waiting for about 10 minutes before it took off and it was incredibly noisy.

“It can’t be good for your health”

Mrs Marchant is also worried about her property dropping in value and claims she received a letter from the airport telling her to stop complaining about the noise to a forum on its website.

A Southend Airport spokesman said in response: “London Southend Airport is very proud of both its long heritage, having been an airport since 1914, and the important, positive role it plays in the community.

“We appreciate that the Wells Avenue properties were built close to the Charlie taxiway, and are currently engaging with those residents through quarterly meetings and are actively investigating active measures to reduce noise.

“The airport has ambitious plans to grow and will continue to work closely with the CAA to ensure the airport remains safe and environmentally responsible for all our stakeholders.”

So, can noise induce hearing loss?

Noise is the term used to describe the range of sound that can span from nuisance to harmful and is usually measured in decibels (dB).

High levels of sound can be harmful to the human ear and noise induced hearing loss (NIHL), a permanent and irreversible condition, is the damage sustained by the ear when exposed to prolonged high levels of noise.

Exposure to high levels of noise must have been over a sustained period of time and for sufficient hours each day to have had a detrimental and permanent effect on one’s hearing.

Hearing also naturally deteriorates with age and noise damage must be sufficiently severe to be capable of being identified in isolation to age damage, which is also known as presbycusis.

It is also possible to sustain permanent damage to one’s hearing instantly and this would usually be from some form of immediate trauma, for example, being in close vicinity to an explosion or alarm; this is known as acoustic trauma.

Noise induced hearing loss or occupationally induced hearing loss can have a significant impact on your daily life.

Usually the first symptoms noticed by many of our clients is that they complain that people around them appear to mumble. They increasingly have difficulty hearing, holding or following a conversation in the presence of background noise. This could be people talking in a work situation whereby you may have difficulty understanding instructions or interacting with colleagues, or perhaps in social situations such as being in a pub or restaurant.

Usually, family and social life is the first to be affected and our clients’ have found themselves having to continually repeat themselves or ask others to repeat themselves causing arguments with family members over ‘not listening’ or ‘shouting unnecessarily’.

Ultimately, this can lead to withdrawing from social circles, embarrassment and in some occasions depression and isolation.

Simcox Oliver Solicitors are experts in noise induced hearing loss compensation claims and are proud to support the charity, Action on Hearing Loss (Registered Charity No 207720), a trading name of the Royal National Institute for Deaf People (RNID).