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Noise and the local community

We value an open and good relationship with our neighbours. We actively contribute to safeguarding an attractive residential and work environment; we maintain direct contacts with our neighbours and participate in the Alders Platform, a consultative body in which the government, the aviation sector, local authorities and residents make agreements aimed at ensuring the aviation activities at Schiphol and the quality of life in the region remain in equilibrium. Therefore, one of our strategic objectives is to continue the stakeholder dialogue in the Alders Platform and with the parties involved in the Schiphol Regional Consultative Committee (CROS). In 2014 the Alders Platform and CROS will merge into the newly formed Schiphol Local Community Council [OmgevingsRaad Schiphol].

Living and working side by side

Schiphol contributes to providing good job and residential opportunities in the region. The airport is a significant factor: we generate substantial employment in the area. Enjoying good relations with one's neighbours - residents and businesses alike - is in everyone's interests. Schiphol itself organises activities to foster relations with its neighbours, such as the Schiphol Neighbour Days. Other activities are undertaken by Stichting Leefomgeving Schiphol and Stichting Mainport en Groen.

Stichting Leefomgeving Schiphol

This organisation's objective is to improve the quality of life in the Schiphol area by supporting projects to that end. The organisation also provides benefits-in-kind to individual victims of intolerable or unworkable circumstances who fall outside the scope of the existing statutory compensation schemes. The organisation thus implements the agreements set out in the Alders Platform covenant concerning the Quality of the Local Environment. In further support of severely affected areas, the parties represented in the Stichting Leefomgeving Schiphol (Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, the province of North-Holland and the Dutch government) have committed to make a second tranche of another thirty million euros available, ten million euros of which will be contributed by Schiphol.

Stichting Mainport en Groen

Stichting Mainport en Groen makes investments in recreational facilities and green landscaping for local residents and visitors to the Schiphol locality. The organisation has monitored the agreements made on the development of green landscaping set out in the Mainport Schiphol en Groen covenant since 1996. Schiphol contributed eight million euros towards financing the programme. The organisation will be dissolved in 2014 and its activities transferred to the municipality of Haarlemmermeer.

Buitenschot Land Art Park

Buitenschot Land Art Park, a park north of the town of Hoofddorp, opened in October. This park, developed by Schiphol and Stichting Mainport en Groen, distinctively integrates ground noise reduction facilities, recreation and art. The Hoofddorp-North Local Residents Association and the municipality of Haarlemmermeer were closely involved in the design and creation of the park, which features low hills that disperse the ground noise generated by aircraft taking off. The reduction of ground noise is one of the noise mitigation measures agreed in the Alders Platform. Schiphol Group provided two million euros for the Buitenschot project, with Stichting Mainport en Groen contributing one million euros.

Schiphol Neighbour Days

November 2013 saw the conclusion of a series of Schiphol Neighbour Days, during which Schiphol invited local residents to take a behind-the-scenes look at the airport. This allows Schiphol to have face-to-face contact with local residents and helps them gain a better understanding of all the activities carried out at the airport. It is a positive way of explaining what Schiphol is all about and how it adds value to the local community. We received an overwhelming response to our invitation and showed some 500 local residents around the airport. We will continue to host Schiphol Neighbour Days in 2014.

Teaching materials

In association with CROS and Rotterdam The Hague Airport, Schiphol developed teaching materials relating to Schiphol for grade 7 and 8 primary school pupils in 2012. The teaching materials were modified in 2013. In all, five thousand packages of teaching materials were produced, 75% of which were designated for the six hundred primary schools in the CROS region. The other 25% went to primary schools in other parts of the Netherlands. In the teaching material, Schiphol is used as a theme to creatively combine various skills, such as numeracy, language skills and world studies. Children learn about topics such as sustainability, working at the airport and about Schiphol as a transit port.

Alders Platform
Favourable evaluation of covenants

Schiphol implements the Alders Platform covenants in conjunction with the other parties involved. The covenants include the Quality of the Local Environment Covenant, the Noise Mitigation Covenant and the Covenant concerning Maintaining and Strengthening the Mainport Function. Implementation of the respective covenants spans several years, as planned. In 2013 the Alders Platform evaluated the implementation of the covenants for the first time, the outcome of which was favourable. The objective to reduce serious noise disturbance by 5% in 2020 is amply achieved with the number of noise-affected residents declining by more than 10% compared with the situation without noise mitigation measures. Several local community projects were initiated over the past four years under the Quality of the Local Environment Covenant. Of the 51 applications for compensation for noise-related distress, fifteen have meanwhile been honoured.

Agreement reached on the new environmental standards

In October 2013 the Alders Platform reached agreement on a new system of environmental standards. Under the old system, 35 noise enforcement points proved to be difficult to explain in practice: when the maximum permissible noise levels were reached at these enforcement points, due to the use of preferred runways that caused less widespread nuisance, air traffic was diverted to other runways where the noise hindrance was greater. The new environmental standards are based on preferred rules for runway use and were tested over a two-year period. The new system provides for a preferential order of use of runways ensuring that, depending on weather conditions, the runways which affect the lowest number of people will be used first. Air Traffic Control the Netherlands (LVNL) will at the same time keep the simultaneous use of runways to a minimum.

Hans Alders, a former government minister who chairs the consultation, submitted the recommendation to Ms Mansveld, the State Secretary for Infrastructure and the Environment. The new system was reported in the press in January 2014 because a research agency, commissioned by the municipality of Amstelveen and two Amsterdam urban districts, stated that Runway 09-27 had been used too often. An analysis performed by Air Traffic Control The Netherlands showed that the runway had been deployed in accordance with the rules. The Alders Platform participants subsequently confirmed their commitment to the agreement.

The bill for the new noise system is expected to be submitted to the Lower House before the summer.

Regional airport developments

Following the Recommendation on Lelystad Airport issued by the Alders Platform in 2012, in 2013 Schiphol Group announced its intention to further develop this airport to accommodate non-Mainport-related air traffic, for a maximum capacity of 45,000 air transport movements. In order to apply for the airport traffic ruling, the Scope and Level of Detail Memorandum was drawn up for the purpose of the Environmental Impact Assessment (MER). A number of steps were also taken in respect of adapting airside to accommodate the volume of air traffic forecast for Lelystad. This should result in an airport traffic ruling for Lelystad in 2014 plus the corresponding route decree which, from a legal point of view, will enable the development of Lelystad Airport to proceed.

Noise capacity

Under the current system, noise enforcement points are used to calculate the noise impact generated by Schiphol. A statutory, annual maximum noise impact level applies to each noise enforcement point. Measures must be taken if the limit values threaten to be exceeded. There are 35 enforcement points for the full 24 hours and an additional 25 specifically for the night-time period.

In the 2013 operating year there was not a single noise enforcement point where the maximum noise level was exceeded. The noise enforcement points will be abolished when the new system of environmental standards is implemented, but this is not expected to be incorporated into law until 2015.

Point of contact for local residents

The Local Community Contact Centre (Bas), an organisation formed by Air Traffic Control the Netherlands (LVNL) and Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, provides information on air traffic and living in the Schiphol area. Bas made several improvements to the provision of information. In collaboration with CROS, Bas visits habitual complainers and other local residents who feel seriously affected and are in need of face-to-face contact. Bas organised a meeting for local residents including those representing CROS and the Association of Joint Platforms [Vereniging Gezamenlijke Platforms, VGP] to explain the Bas reports and the website.

On the website, local residents can read Het verslag van de dag ['The Daily Report'], which has been published since 1 November 2013. The report basically summarises runway use and explains why it was necessary to deploy particular take-off and landing runways. There is also a link to the preferential table under the new system of environmental standards. The report is published in the early evening, contains a review of the past day and provides a forecast for the rest of the day. By publishing The Daily Report, Bas has responded to the desire of local residents to gain a better understanding of runway use at Schiphol. Runway maintenance information is viewed the most on the Bas website. Lastly, the air transport movements in the module Vliegverkeer InZicht ['Air Traffic InSight'] can now be followed without a time lag.

People submitting reports to Bas, and the nature of the reports



Number of people submitting reports



Number of specific reports



Number of period reports



Number of general reports



People reporting disturbance and reports

In the 2013 operating year, 4,624 people affected by air traffic reported this to Bas on one or more occasions. Of those making the reports, 27 (0.6%) 'habitually' report complaints. They were responsible for 67.8% of all reports made in 2013. In its annual report, Bas concentrates primarily on the group of people who are not habitual complainers. The number of specific reports submitted by the 4,597 people in the focus group declined by 19.3% while the number of period and general reports declined by 30.2% and 9.3% respectively.

Traditionally, July and August are the months in which the most reports are made. This is the holiday period, when the highest number of air transport movements are handled. Because the wind blew from a northerly to easterly direction more often than usual during the 2013 operating year, runway usage in a northerly direction rose. This resulted in fewer period and general reports. The majority of specific reports concern heavy cargo aircraft taking off during the final daily departure peak and relate to noise disturbance.