Switzerland introduces new aircraft noise limits

Ban on night flights, polluter to pay, as government approves changes to noise protection ordinance

Switzerland will introduce new aircraft noise rules, including a ban on night flights, after revisions to an earlier noise protection ordinance were approved by the upper parliamentary house (Bundesrat) today.

Due to come into force on 1 May, the regulations expand on the 1987 noise protection ordinance. This covered road and rail noise, but made no provisions for aircraft. The new provisions, proposed by the environment ministry last year (ENDS Daily 13 July 1999), will ban flights from international airports between midnight and 5am, and between 11pm and 6am for domestic airports. The Swiss environment agency estimates that airlines will be required to pay around SFr220m (euros 147m) to compensate for losses in property value and for noise protection measures.

Aeroplanes with noise levels falling within the higher end (annex 3) of International Civil Aviation Organisation regulations will no longer be permitted to take off and land between 10 and 11pm. The rules also forbid construction of new housing near airports, while noise protection windows are to be fitted in existing buildings.

The European Commission made proposals last year to introduce stricter rules on aircraft noise (ENDS Daily 2 December 1999), while Germany recently announced that it would introduce drastic new aircraft noise limits around airports (ENDS Daily 25 February).

Follow Up:
Swiss environment agency, tel: +41 31 322 9311.

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