AVIATION chiefs fail to understand the impact noise can have on people's lives, according to a new book by the man who led the successful campaign against a third runway at Heathrow.
John Stewart, chairman of campaign group HACAN, wrote 'Why Noise Matters' in a bid to make industry leaders and politicians alike take the issue more seriously.
As well as aircraft noise, the book explores the impact of everything from workplace rackets to traffic din on people's health.
Mr Stewart, who hit the headlines last week after being denied entry to America over his campaigning work, said he had been inspired to write the book by his experiences over the last decade with HACAN.
"It appeared that noise just wasn't being taken seriously by the authorities and speaking to other campaigners in the field of noise they had the same experience," he said.
"I wanted to move noise up the political agenda. Hopefully this book will encourage politicians to take noise more seriously and not just dismiss it as a little local difficulty suffered by over-sensitive people."
In the book, he writes about meeting a 'senior person working for (Heathrow owners) BAA', who assumed noise complaints were 'just a front to cover their dislike of aviation in general'.
Another senior aviation lobbyist, he adds, once asked if the complaints were 'less about noise and more about the fear of aircraft crashing'.
"When senior figures in the industry do not understand there may be a problem, it makes it so much harder to arrive at a solution," he writes.
According to the book, in Europe alone some 450 million people are exposed daily to noise levels which the World Health Organisation (WHO) regards as unacceptable.
Aircraft noise affects an estimated 30 million people worldwide, the book claims, including 700,000 people living around Heathrow.
Why Noise Matters is published by Earthscan and retails at £24.99.