Would the expansion of Heathrow Airport in west London to include a third runway impact the mental health of those living under the flightpath?
That was the question on the mind of the 50 people who gathered in a Westminster committee room on Monday (July 3).
Campaigners, MPs, west London residents and an environmental psychologist from Germany all crammed into the Palace of Westminster room to debate this point, in the wake of news that an airport expansion decision would be delayed until at least October.
West London resident Chris Keady gave an emotional speech on the impact living under a Heathrow flight path had on his own mental health in recent years.
Mr Keady said: “We don't know what the effect of the concentration [of flights] will be.
“It's about shutting out the noise. It's about giving control to the people so they don't feel alienated.
“We can't control it and that's the worry.”
The gathered crowd at the seminar in central London on Monday were also given an in-depth presentation from Dirk Schreckenberg who was a key member of the NORAH (Noise-related annoyance, cognition and health) study published in 2014, which explored the impact of transportation noise on people's wellbeing.
Mr Schreckenberg said that, while investigating the effects of Frankfurt Airport's fourth runway, people living nearby said their mental wellbeing deteriorated.
The study also found that aircraft noise could delay a child's reading development.
'Remember the positives'
Also on the panel was the sustainability director a Heathrow Airport, Matt Gorman, who came under particular scrutiny from members of the audience during a brief question and answer session.
He said: “I think it's important for us to understand the relationship between noise from aircraft and health.
“We're working with different groups to explore how we can support research.”
Mr Gorman added that it was important to remember the positive effects Heathrow's expansion could have on mental health - such a providing secure employment for thousands of people - without downplaying the negative impacts.
The meeting was chaired by the Conservative MP for Twickenham and anti-Heathrow expansion campaigner Dr Tania Mathias.
Addressing the gathered crowds, Dr Mathias said: “It's an unbelievably important topic.
“I think what we're going to face in years to come is more evidence and more concern about mental health impacts about aircraft noise.
“I think we're very much at the forefront of physiological and mental health studies.”